Mancini claims credit for City centurions
Kevin Nolan has admitted he tried to persuade Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott to sign for West Ham during Tuesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final clash at Upton Park.
Lescott played a key part in Manchester City's title-winning side two years ago, but he has struggled to gain a regular first-team spot ever since.
The 31-year-old has started just seven Premier League matches this term and, as a result, has not made one England squad throughout the current campaign.
Lescott is not the only one who knows he must start playing regular first-team football before the end of the season if he is to have a chance of making Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.
While Mohamed Diame was receiving treatment on an injury during City's 3-0 win at West Ham on Tuesday, Nolan -- along with teammate Carlton Cole -- exchanged banter with Lescott and the West Ham skipper revealed exactly what he was up to after the match.
"I was trying to tell him to come and help us out," Nolan said about the friendly exchange, which was picked up by the television cameras.
"I saw Joleon and I know he has been heavily linked with us and I was trying to persuade him [to come to West Ham] because he is a top-quality player. That would only make us stronger."
It remains to be seen whether Lescott, who is out of contract this summer, would be interested in a move from a title contender to Upton Park, though. Nolan jested that the initial signs were not good.
"When I said that to him, he laughed and said: 'You're joking aren't you?''' the former Bolton midfielder said.
"I'm only winding you up,'' he added. "He didn't really say that, but we did have a little bit of laughter and a giggle."
Everton defender Johnny Heitinga rejected a move to West Ham earlier this month. This week Monaco striker Lacina Traore chose Everton over West Ham, while the East London club also missed out on target Ishak Belfodil from AC Milan.
Nolan is not bothered about missing out on those signings, however, and he insists anyone who comes in over the next fortnight must be fully committed to dragging West Ham out of the relegation zone.
"We don't want those players [who turned us down], simple as,'' he said. "I don't want to play with a player who gets his head turned easily or doesn't fancy the challenge.
"We only want players who are going to go out there and put their hand on their heart and say: 'I am here for the club'. We want them to be here. If you don't want to be here then don't bother."