Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan has confirmed Ben Thatcher will join Fulham this month – but has asked the Wales international to stay at Eastlands until he finds a replacement.
Thatcher made what is likely to be his final Blues appearance in this afternoon’s 3-1 home win over Crystal Palace after City agreed to his request for a move due to family problems.
The full-back, who joined City from Leicester for £100,000 during the summer, asked for a move after his wife failed to settle in the area and Keegan confirmed a fee, thought to be £750,000, had been agreed with the Cottagers.
However, the Blues boss has asked Thatcher to stay for another seven days to give him some time to fill the gap in an already wafer-thin squad.
Theoretically, the 29-year-old, who was making his 15th City appearance this afternoon, could be involved in next weekend’s trip to West Brom, although with fellow left-back Stephen Jordan returning to fitness after his recent ankle injury, that seems highly unlikely.
Keegan revealed that Thatcher’s home has been broken into twice recently and with his wife refusing to remain in the North, said he had no alternative other than to let the combative leave.
“I have a deal with Ben to go to Fulham for family reasons,” said Keegan.
“Ben came to me a week ago absolutely mortified as to what had happened to him. He has been robbed twice. It was a very scary thing.
“His wife would not come back. We love him to bits at this football club but some things are more important.
“I have told Ben he has to stay here another week because I have to find a replacement for him and I know he will not let me down.
“Some people might say I am a softy but I don’t want Ben here while his family and kids are down South.
“We have done the deal but he has to have a medical and wait for me to get a replacement.
“He has made a big impression around the football club. He is a very obliging lad and we will miss him.”