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Trio released

Unsurprising news (and following on from this post about Martin Petrov's future) that the club yesterday announced that the contracts of Benjani, Sylvinho and Martin Petrov would not be renewed, and each are now free to find themselves new clubs.

It is no great surprise of course, and despite the need to boost squad numbers with the greater demands ahead in 2010/11 and only Jerome Boateng's arrival so far, inevitably each summer at a club there is a degree of what you could terms as 'natural wastage', generally where players have either not progressed sufficiently, or they have been surpassed in the pecking order to leave them surplus to requirements.

The latter reason is certainly the most apt with all three of the trio, with it being long expected that Benjani would leave when his contract expired - and despite a cameo at the beginning of Roberto Mancini's reign. Signed in chaotic fashion on deadline day (or after to be more precise) in 2008, his career never really took off and following the departure of Sven-Goran Erikkson found himself on the outside looking in for the majority of the Mark Hughes reign.

Sylvinho was added by Mark Hughes in the summer of 2009, ostensibly to add some experience as a 'winner' to a squad that was in transition and perhaps lacked the experience of what it took to win. You suspect that it may also have been a ploy to attempt to hand hold Robinho a little, although if so, it failed in that regard. He was a solid enough performer, if a little exposed at times as a left back, but filled in through a number of different positions at one time or another when injuries hit.

Martin Petrov is perhaps the most interesting though. With no word on a new contract as 2010 came around, it looked inevitable that his time at the club was drawing to a close and with Jerome Boateng handed his number 17 shirt only the official announcement remained.

Whilst all of the released players should garner interest, you would expect Petrov to be the most heavily courted of the trio. He has carved out a reputation for himself, and long been linked with the likes of Everton and Tottenham. In fact, the Metro suggests that both Aston Villa and Everton could be set for a 'bidding war' for his signature.

It is interesting though that in his three seasons at the club Petrov only managed 57 starts, plus a further 12 appearances from the bench. For all of his success in the first season under Eriksson, he never repeated his early form with both subsequent seasons blighted with injury and unhappy spells on the bench.

On talent alone, Petrov should command plenty of attention but advancing years and concerns over his fitness could see clubs shy away, or at leastbe very guarded in terms of what deal will be on the table.

Whilst none of the trio will necessarily need replacing as such, with only the future of Robinho to be determined, the post-World Cup focus will be all about those players arriving at the club as opposed to departing.