midfielder Philippe Clement returned home to Belgium today in a £770,000 move to Bruges.
The 25-year-old player, signed from Racing Genk for £625,000 a year ago, started only
eight games last season and failed to make a real impression in the first team.
He was hampered by injury and the start to his city career was delayed when he broke a
cheekbone in a pre-season friendly at Cardiff. He then suffered a hamstring strain that
left him sidelined for six weeks.
Clement, a university graduate, could operate in midfield or in the centre of defence
and, after a successful World Cup debut, it looked as if City had hooked a bargain.
But with Gary McAllister fit again, Trond Soltvedt pressing and George Boateng
returning to form, his chances were limited.
That led to him losing his international place a major reason for the return to
Sky Blues chairman Bryan Richardson said:
"We just felt that as we had signed Youssef Chippo, and with an emergence of Barry
Quinn, this was a good deal.
"Philippe wants first team football so he can play in the Euro 2000 championships
and this should give him the chance."
And City have moved to secure the defensive partnership of Richard Shaw and Paul
Williams by offering them contract extensions. Shaw, last seasons player of the
year, is under contract until 2001 while Williams deal was due to expire next
If both agree terms, as seems likely, that will give manager Gordon Strachan four
players for two central defensive slots. Ironically, Williams and Shaw both
uncapped look favourite to start over internationals Gary Breen and Mo Konjic.