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Jan 14, 2009

City in dreamland over Kaka pursuit

At last, after 14 days of forcing the public to listen to wild speculation over their next big signing (Wayne Bridge really doesn't count), cash rich Manchester City appear to have finally shown their hand with a massive bid for Brazilian superstar Kaka.

We had been expecting a deluge of big names flying in to Manchester airport this January as the Abu Dhabi United Group got to work in turning their side from relegation contenders to world-beaters in a few short steps; but, so far, there has been a disappointing lack of movement at Eastlands.

Spending £10 million on Wayne Bridge aside, it had been rumoured that City's owners had actually been hit a lot harder by the economic crisis than they had let on; yet a £100 million offer for the former World Player of the Year appears to have quashed any such talk now.

In fact, dependant on who you believe, the offer could be as much as £175 million, with anything from £250,000 to £500,000-a-week being offered as a wage packet, although it appears that money is not an issue for a player who has the choice of any club in the world.

At the heart of negotiations appears to be Kia Joorabchian. A well-known face in England after his brokering of the Tevez and Mascherano deals, the businessman, who was instrumental in bringing Robinho to Eastlands, has been urging the club to buy a single mega-star for weeks.

One of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kaka or Carlos Tevez (due to his availability in the summer), was always going to attract attention, but it was Joorabchian who apparently put the Brazilian at the top of the club's list.

The player himself has made it clear in the past that he would be happy to test himself in the English Premier League, although has played down talk of a move and claimed that he would like to captain Milan one day. Still, should he eventually choose to go, he would certainly find himself among friends at Eastlands with £32 million man Robinho's arrival in the summer.

Unlike Juventus, who sold Zinedine Zidane for £48 million in 2001, Milan, have avoided selling players at their peak, but could cope with his absence. Brazilian striker Pato now occupies the hearts of the Milan fans alongside new-boy Ronaldinho and the club have a host of quality midfielders to fill the space - and could certainly do worse than taking a chance on out of favour loanee Yoann Gourcuff.

Undoubtedly, Kaka is one of the best players on the planet, but Milan have other priorities. They must rebuild their ageing defence with international class youngsters and £100 million would go some way to securing their long-term goals.

City, meanwhile, are making a statement. Ridiculed over their pursuit of the world's top players since the takeover, if they can land Kaka then the doors are open for others of a similar calibre to arrive. If they can't, then they'll simply turn their attention elsewhere. January might turn out to be an interesting month after all.

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