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Blues close on Bridge

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has confirmed that his club have agreed an undisclosed transfer fee, believed to be in the region of £12 million, with Chelsea for full-back Wayne Bridge.

The 28-year-old England international is due at the City of Manchester Stadium to thrash out personal terms and will undergo a medical on Saturday. If all goes well the transfer will bring an end to a frustrating five-and-a-half-year spell at Stamford Bridge, where Bridge was a peripheral figure.

Hughes said: "My understanding is the clubs have agreed a fee. We need to speak to the boy and try to agree personal terms."

"If we can do that hopefully Wayne will be a Manchester City player, that's the aim, the city boss said. "Wayne will probably travel to Manchester this evening and hopefully negotiations will go well and he can have a medical tomorrow.''

Hughes has identified his defence as a problem area and the signing of England international Bridge will come as a huge relief for the former Blackburn Rovers manager, who had also considered a swoop for Bayern Munich left-back Philipp Lahm.

Bridge is set to sign a four-year contract at City and is expected to earn close to the £4m-a-year wages he earned at Chelsea, since moving to Stamford Bridge from Southampton in a £7million deal in 2003.

The left-back is behind Ashley Cole in the pecking order at the Blues and has started just three Premier League games so far this season.

Earlier on Friday Chelsea confirmed they had been approached by City when a club spokesman said: "Manchester City have come in with an interest in Wayne and the club have given him permission to speak to them.

"That's where we are. It's still a moving picture. Both sides will have something to announce if there is something to announce.'' Meanwhile, Luiz Felipe Scolari is reportedly eager to sign CSKA Moscow's Yuri Zhirkov as a replacement for Bridge, although "Russia's Ronaldinho" has earned far more recognition as an attacking winger rather than a left-back.

The 25-year-old is a Russian international and the Blues may face competition for the highly rated player.


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