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On the block?

Last nights MEN sport section lead with the story that Stuart Pearce could be overseeing a clearout of the squad in the summer. The report suggested that he has a definite target of 'three or four' players he wants to bring in and the ten first team squad players who are out of contract in the summer face an uncertain wait to see if they will be offered new deals.

It also suggested that much may be riding on how high we finish up the table given that each Premiership place is worth around £470,000, and of course a prolonged run in the FA Cup would also help.

The out of contract list of players is quite an extensive one; Nicky Weaver, Geert de Vlieger, Jihai Sun, Lee Croft, Andrew Cole, Kiki Musampa, David Sommeil, Mikkel Bischoff, Albert Riera and Tuomas Haapala. It is quite conceivable that the majority of these players could be on their way come the summer.

I don't imagine that both keepers will be retained next season, especially given the form of David James and the emergence of Kasper Schmeichel and for me Weaver is the most likely to be offered a deal, albeit a short term one.

Mikkel Bischoff I think is a cert to be released at the end of the season. In his time at the club he simply hasn't broken through so far and has also been leapfrogged by Nedum Onouha and Micah Richards this season.

Albert Riera has impressed in the main during his short time at the club and has indicated he wishes to sign on a permanent basis. He does offer something on the left hand side that no one else in the squad does and would like to see him brought in on permanently.

Andrew Cole has been offered a one year extension (which is yet to be signed) and his play over the season has certainly merited the further offer. Lee Croft is an interesting one as for several seasons he has been hyped as the 'next big thing' but has yet to really make a mark consistently. He has impressed at times though and think it is likely he will be given a further deal. Tuomas Haapala signed a short term deal in January but has yet to threaten for a first team place and needs to step up between now and the end of the season.

The three interesting players though are Musampa, Sun and Sommeil. I would think it is unlikely Atletico Madrid would allow him to be loaned for what would be a third season so a decision would need to be made on his future. With injuries and the signing of Riera, he has moved into central midfield of late after a spell out of the team but I don't think he will be signed after this season - especially if Pearce can bring a midfielder in over the summer.

Sun has become a 'Mr Versatile' player for the club during his time at the club, even featuring on the left of midfield this season. However, he has never really proved himself in midfield and finds his path to a defensive position blocked by the emergence of the younger players and may struggle to win a new deal, as could be the case with David Sommeil who hasn't let the side down when he has had to step in this season but clearly is not a long term answer for the club and he too could be playing elsewhere next season.