Given gets green light to move on

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told Shay Given - reportedly wanted by Arsenal and Fulham - that he will not stand in his way if the goalkeeper wishes to leave.

After much debate over who would be the Blues' number one, Mancini plumped for England international Joe Hart on the opening day of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.

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Hart produced an outstanding display in the goalless draw with Given left to watch on from the bench.

The Irishman had indicated that he would not settle for a substitute role at Eastlands this season, alerting a number of clubs to his availability, including Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

The Emirates Stadium supremo is believed to be on the lookout for a long-term first choice stopper with question marks continuing to remain over both Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianksi, and has strongly been linked with a move for Fulham's Mark Schwarzer.

And Mancini has revealed that, although he hopes Given will stay, he will not prevent the 34-year-old to depart.

“I hope he can stay. But I respect his decision if he wants to leave,” he said.

Any potential move could depend on Schwarzer’s future, with Cottagers' boss Mark Hughes believed to be mulling a move for Given should the Australian join the Gunners.

NEWS: Schwarzer keen to join Arsenal

Schwarzer sat out Fulham’s opening day draw against Bolton amid speculation over a £2.5 million move to the Gunners.

Given would provide an ideal replacement for Schwarzer at Craven Cottage, although Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out a direct move for Given.

In this goalkeeper transfer merry-go-round Mancini may refuse to sell to Arsenal in the same way that he reportedly refused to let Craig Bellamy join Spurs.

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The Italian considers Wenger’s men as rivals to City’s ambitions this season, meaning a deal with Fulham would be more likely.

However, Mancini has not given up hope of persuading Given to stay.

By Dave Peddie

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