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Conte headed for Mourinho fate?


The Prince(ss) and the (little) Pea

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Transfer Rater: Benteke to Chelsea

By ESPN Staff

Ancelotti admits Kaka could be on the move

Amid the growing mountain of speculation regarding Kaka's proposed £108million move to Manchester City, AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti came out with the most salient point of all.

"You cannot think of football the way it was 20 years ago,'' he observed.

Ancelotti was using the sentence to try and impress upon Milan's dismayed supporters why the eight-times European Cup winners were duty bound to consider - and in all likelihood accept - the extraordinary £108 million bid for a player the Rossoneri thought was one of them.

But in truth, he could use it to sum up almost every aspect of what could turn out to be the most amazing transfer ever conducted.

Certainly two decades ago, there would be no platform for opportunists from the Middle East to make a name for themselves almost at will.

On Thursday, the website which first announced City had been bought by Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mansour declared that the Blues had withdrawn their bid for the 26-year-old, before claiming the transfer had been concluded.

The first statement sent Mark Hughes onto the offensive, the second had City officials scrambling to deny the story and try to get it withdrawn from any medium prepared to give it airtime.

Such is the way with the modern world. And such is the way with City, trying to gain a foothold in a week that has seen them swept along on a body of amazed expressions, desperately hoping minds are focused enough among their playing squad to win against Wigan.

The very idea Kaka would consider playing for a club currently two points off the relegation zone and dumped out of both domestic cup competitions by lower league opponents is almost preposterous.

Yet, if a meeting between Kaka's father and senior City officials goes well early next week, that is likely to be the outcome.

"My hope is that I can coach Kaka for many more years but we have to look at the offer that has been presented,'' added Ancelotti.

"We cannot be too alarmed. I know what the fans are thinking but they have to be brave.

"The aims for the team remain the same, with or without Kaka.''

The idea of life without Kaka is one Milan may have to get used to.

Indeed, a part of owner Silvio Berlusconi might privately hope the transfer goes through, given the staggering fee, more than double the current £47million world record Real Madrid paid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001, Milan stand to pocket.

However, there is still plenty of work to do.

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and executive chairman Garry Cook need to convince Bosco Leite of their grandiose plans.

Such is the trust between father and son, if City are successful in that aim, Kaka could well be making his debut against Newcastle on January 28 as planned.

With a clause almost certainly going to be inserted into any contract Kaka signs allowing the player to leave should City not reach a certain level - probably Champions League qualification - within a set time-frame - 18 months has been mentioned - the Blues hierarchy cannot afford to remain static in other areas over the next fortnight as they close in on their number one target.

Current record signing Robinho has suggested two fellow countrymen, Santos' Kleber and Thiago Silva of Fluminense to bolster City's leaking defence while Hamburg have confirmed a bid has been received from the Eastlands outfit for their highly-rated Dutch midfield star Nigel de Jong.

"Manchester City have signalled their interest in the player and made us an offer,'' said Hamburg spokesman Jorn Wolf.

"We now have to sit down and decide if it is worth considering.''

There are other targets too, including Shay Given, Craig Bellamy, who is attracting strong interest from Tottenham, Scott Parker and Roque Santa Cruz in addition to England full-back Wayne Bridge, who makes his debut against Wigan after a £10million move from Chelsea a fortnight ago.


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