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Five go to pastures new?

Perhaps inevitably after Stuart Pearce's post game comments on Sunday, reports surfaced yesterday that Pearce is set to wield the axe amongst the current squad with five players reported to be on their way out.

The five - listed as Danny Mills, Ben Thatcher, Antoine Sibierski, Kiki Musampa and Bradley Wright-Phillips would not perhaps cause too much consternation amongst fans if they were elsewhere for the 2006/07 season but I can't helping feeling the reports were without a great deal of foundation and most of the five will still be at the club next season.

If it were left to the majority of fans Sibierski would be on his way but it is not too long ago he extended his contract by another season (along with Reyna) so it would be a big u-turn by Pearce to now sell him. Musampa may be a different story as he is only on loan and it is likely Riera will sign permanently. However, he has featured more and more in the centre of midfield so if a nominal fee can be agreed with Atletic Madrid Pearce may be tempted to make his move permanent.

Mills and Thatcher are no longer the first choice pairing at full back, with Jordan and Richards/Onouha having usurped them over the course of this season. Mills's contract maybe a problem to shift though and still has a couple of years remaining on his contract, although I believe Thatcher's deal runs out in the summer and I can't see that Pearce would offer him a new deal.

I was surprised to see Wright-Phillip's name on the list though. He has made strides this season and featured more in the team (although too often as a cameo substitute appearance) but I am still sceptical whether he will truly break through as a regular and will surely come under pressure from the likes of Miller, Sturridge and Etuhu in the future. One thing he needs more than anything at this stage of his career is regular games and it will be most beneficial if he spent next season out on loan at a Championship side.

One factor that will surely affect the number of players moving out will be the number of players arriving. After spending £6million on Samaras, Pearce may not have much money to manouvere with so he may be forced to keep some of the fringe (ie. lower value) players to maintain some semblance of squad depth.

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