City striker Santa Cruz left in limbo

The Paraguay international striker was expected to be among those

on their way out of Eastlands this summer after tumbling down the

pecking order. Various clubs were reported to be keen on the

experienced frontman, with loan deals and permanent switches touted

on a regular basis. However, the transfer window slammed shut at

6pm on Tuesday with Santa Cruz still on the books at City. He now

faces an uncertain few months before the window opens again in

January, with Roberto Mancini having already informed him that he

does not figure prominently in his plans. “Unfortunately, I have

heard from the manager than he won’t be counting on me too much

this season,” Santa Cruz told Sky Sports News. “I heard that a week

before the season and I had time to see if I could arrange a move.

But in the end the club were happy to keep me and they weren’t

happy with anything that came through. “Now I am looking forward to

getting back into training and seeing if I have any opportunities

to prove myself in the team.” Serie A giants Lazio were believed to

be leading the race for Santa Cruz’s signature, but they were

unable to strike a deal with City. Santa Cruz added: “They were

there right until the end, but they didn’t reach an agreement with

the club. I was waiting to hear what was going on, but there was no

agreement. It was then too late to keep talking. That’s the way it

has finished.” Fulham were another side reported to be keen on

sealing a loan swoop and Santa Cruz admits he would have welcomed

the opportunity to work under former City boss Mark Hughes again at

Craven Cottage. “I would have been very happy to play for him and

if I had the chance to go there and play under him again, I would,”

he added. “But again City were looking to keep me even though the

manager has said that he won’t be counting on me this season. I

just have to try to prove myself in training. “I am healthy and I

am looking forward. The deadline has gone. I am on my way to play

for the national team and hopefully I will get the minutes I

haven’t got at City this season.”