Premier League – City failed to get Buffon, Henry, Villa
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 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 £100m, while Valencia wanted £135m for Spain duo Villa and Silva.
“We’re not anybody’s fool,” City’s executive chairman, Garry Cook said.
“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 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 £40m 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 Lassana Diarra, who opted to join Real Madrid instead.
There was further embarrassment for City when it emerged that De Jong, for whom they paid £19m, would have been able to leave Hamburg for £2.3m at the end of the season according to a clause in his contract.
It is not known whether City were unaware of the clause, or unwilling to wait until summer amid fears they could be sucked into a relegation battle.
Hamburg manager Martin Jol said: “The club just couldn’t refuse the offer.”
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”.