Joleon Lescott accepts his spell at Manchester City is over, but will take his time before deciding what next for his future.
The 31-year-old joined the Blues from Everton in 2009, since when he has helped them win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup. However, he has become increasingly marginalised in recent years, making just 10 appearances this season compared to the 31 times he featured during the successful 2011-12 campaign.
Lescott is out of contract this summer and is has been widely expected that he will then leave the Etihad Stadium, with fresh terms unlikely to be offered. The former England international defender accepts he has played his last game for Manuel Pellegrini’s champions, and has revealed he has already spoken to interested parties.
“It is the end. I know I’m going to be leaving,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “We’ve had a good relationship, this club has been a big part of me. As far as I’m concerned it’s the end. If something changed then great but if not there are no hard feelings between me and the club. I’ve had a great relationship with them. I know the business side of it.
“We’ve been successful and I hold no grudges. Everyone talks about how you look back when your career has finished on what you’ve won, and I can look back and say I’ve won some amazing things. It wasn’t a bad decision, in the end. I’m going to see what’s best for me and my family and then make a decision. I’ve spoken to a number of clubs in different countries. There’s been no decision made. But I want to get it sorted soon.”
Lescott has the option of extending his stay in the Premier League, with Aston Villa and West Ham United said to be interested, whilst his former club at Goodison Park are also thought to be considering a move. Alternatively, he could opt for a first venture abroad, where Besiktas are prepared to offer him a taste of the Turkish league.
One of the reasons why Lescott was little more than a fringe player during the previous nine months is the summer introduction of Martin Demichelis. Eyebrows were raised when Pellegrini signed the 33-year-old Argentine, but he eventually became a key figure at the heart of City’s back four alongside club captain Vincent Kompany.
“That’s the story of my life going through difficult moments, but now I’m doubly proud because I had a very difficult first four months because of injury,” he told Sky Sports. “Now though is a great feeling to show everyone I can be an important player. This season has been difficult but now I have belief and confidence that there are good things to come. Now I can prepare for pre-season and hopefully another successful campaign.”