My Soccer World

Football: City Missed Out On Buffon, Henry And Villa Before Kaka

Posted on: January 22, 2009

LONDON : Manchester City’s aborted bid for Brazilian superstar Kaka was preceded by failed attempts to sign Gianluigi Buffon, Thierry Henry and the Valencia pair David Villa and David Silva, it emerged on Thursday.

None of the moves got as far as the attempt to sign Kaka with the players’ current clubs all quoting exorbitant prices in an attempt to make the most of City’s new-found wealth.

The move for Henry could be resurrected at the end of the season however when Barcelona may be willing to sell the former Arsenal striker for considerably less than the 25 million pounds they reportedly quoted City for a January deal.

That was a price City were unwilling to meet for a 31-year-old with a record of recurring injuries in recent seasons. Henry, whose daughter lives in England with his ex-wife, has indicated that he could be keen on a return to the Premier League at some stage.

Juventus indicated they would be willing to sell Buffon, regarded as the world’s best goalkeeper, but only for 100 million pounds, while Valencia wanted 135 million for Spain duo Villa and Silva, according to newspaper reports.

“We’re not anybody’s fool,” City’s executive chairman, Garry Cook, was quoted as telling reporters.

“We’ve turned down negotiations for three different players because we felt the demands both from the club and, in essence, the players have been ludicrous.”

Cook is adamant that City will not squander their owner, Sheikh Mansour’s money, but any suggestion that they do on overpay for players looks debatable.

City have this month spent a total of 40 million pounds on Wayne Bridge, formerly Chelsea’s reserve left-back, Craig Bellamy, a striker who has managed only five goals this season, and Nigel de Jong, who was their third choice for a new holding player behind Barcelona’s Yaya Toure and Lassan Diarra, who opted to join Real Madrid instead.

Meanwhile, manager Mark Hughes has been left with a real headache over how to deal with the best player currently on his staff, Robinho.

The Brazilian is due back in Manchester next week after leaving the club’s warm weather training camp in Tenerife without permission.

The forward flew home to Santos on a private jet and has since claimed he had to deal with a pressing family matter.

That has cut little ice with City officials who say the player will be disciplined on his return and the club have failed to quell speculation that Robinho’s walkout was linked to the collapse of the Kaka deal and a feeling that City’s grand ambitions are unlikely to be realised.

The player however has moved to limit the damage caused by his unauthorised trip by insisting he was committed to the club.

“I have a good relationship with Mark Hughes and have always respected his decisions,” Robinho stated on his official website. “He is the boss!”

The former Real Madrid star also said he was enjoying his new life in England.

“I like living in Manchester and I have made many friends at the club and at the city, since I arrived last year,” he said.

“I admire the Manchester City fans, who are true lovers of football and loyal to the players.

“I am looking forward to delivering as many goals as possible to help our team move to the next level”.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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