Kalifa Cisse looks unlikely to stay at Bristol City
HOPES are fading that midfielder Kalifa Cisse will commit his future to Bristol City in the Championship.
Out of contract at the end of last season, the French-born Mali international is wanted by Robins manager Derek McInnes.
But the 29-year-old has returned to France to explore alternative options and there has been no contact between Cisse and McInnes in more than three weeks.
Although McInnes would like Cisse to remain at Ashton Gate, providing he accepts a wage cut, the former Reading player has told City he wants to shop around for a better deal elsewhere.
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He and his agent have not held any talks with City officials regarding a new contract and The Post understands Cisse, pictured, is talking with a number of clubs in the French League.
With City's players due to report back for pre-season training on July 11, McInnes would like the situation to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Although he is refusing to set Cisse a deadline just yet, McInnes is not prepared to allow the current impasse to continue indefinitely.
McInnes said: "I haven't spoken to Kalifa or his agent in the last three weeks or so and I believe he is still looking at other options.
"We opened dialogue with Kalifa and his agent at the end of the season and it was indicated to us that he wanted to look at all his options. One of his options was maybe going back to France.
"We had expressed a keenness to keep him if the finances had been right and it suited the club.
"At the minute, I think Kalifa is looking at other opportunities to see what he can get.
"Like everybody else who's out of contract, they're quite within their rights to look at the best deal possible from not only a financial sense but a career sense.
"I totally get that, I totally understand that, but we can't sit about waiting at the same time as well.
"I like Kalifa, I like working with him. I think he would say the exact same with us and as a club, so we just need to wait and see what happens."
Signed by former City manager Steve Coppell from Reading in the summer of 2010, Cisse has emerged as a key player for the Robins during the past two seasons. Deployed just in front of the back four, he has been a steadying influence and many of City's best performances have come when he has been in the team.
Should Cisse fail to return to the negotiating table, McInnes will not necessarily be in the market for a like-for-like replacement. Cole Skuse is another defensively-minded player who can perform a midfield holding role, while Marvin Elliott, recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, has also filled a similar role in the past.
Swansea could soon announce a replacement for departed manager Brendan Rodgers – with former Denmark international Michael Laudrup emerging as the favourite.
Chairman Huw Jenkins has been conducting negotiations this week in a bid to find the right man to replace Rodgers, who joined Liverpool earlier this month.
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