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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 9, 2010

Mancini planning to keep Richards and Santa Cruz

Roberto Mancini insists Manchester City defender Micah Richards is staying at Eastlands, claiming the youngster is an important part of his plans.

Reports have suggested Harry Redknapp is preparing a bid to bring Richards to Tottenham. However, ESPN Soccernet understands there has been no contact between the clubs and Mancini has revealed he will brush aside any attempts to lure the right-back away from the club.

"How could I afford to lose Micah? We have only four fit defenders at the moment," he told the club website. "Anyway, I rate him very highly. He has played for England and has great potential for the future. It is important that he stays."

Mancini is also eager to keep Roque Santa Cruz who has been strongly linked with a move to Espanyol.

The Paraguay striker has been struggling with a calf injury and is yet to feature under the new City boss but Mancini is hoping to be able to count on him for Monday night's trip to Blackburn.

"It would be a big game for Rocky as Blackburn are his old club, but we will have to see if he is OK," he said. "Roque is most important for us, and I do not want to lose him. He was injured for 15 days and we missed him. For me, he is important to the team."

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