The Daily Mail has claimed that Manchester City are set to land Brazalian star Ronaldinho from Barcelona this summer.
City have been ridiculed for their ambitious plans to land players with the calibre of Ronaldinho, however all the signs point to possibly the one of the biggest shock transfers in the history of the Premier League.
City officials are set to fly to Brazil to meet Ronaldinho face-to-face this week and Barcelona are said to have given City clearance to talk to the star.
This is the latest development in a series of meetings between club and player with Ronaldinho’s agent and brotherÃ‚Â Roberto de Assis visitng Eastlands two months ago.
Another sign that points to the transfer of the world renowned star is thatÃ‚Â Manchester City’s new Executive Chairman Garry Cook was once Brand President at Nike, the company which sponsor Ronaldinho in a long-term deal.
Ronaldinho, 28, is one of the biggest names in world football and has one the FIFA World Player of the Year award twice, something only achieved by two players (Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo) since the award began in 1991.
The Brazilian star began his career at Gremio before leaving for French team PSG. Although well known from his time at Gremio it was here in Paris that Ronaldinho caught the eye of the world and made a name for himself. In 2003 Ronaldinho earnt himself a Ã‚Â£21 million move to Spanish giants Barcelona where Ronaldinho undoubtedly became the worlds best at the time.
A potential set-back in the deal is Ronaldinho’s wage demands, understood to be around Ã‚Â£200,000-a-week, a contract that would see Ronaldinho become the highest paid player in England by over Ã‚Â£65,000 compared to John Terry’s Ã‚Â£135,000-a-week.
However, with owner Thaksin Shinawatra’s billions at his disposal, it is unlikely that these wage demands will deter City in their bid for European qualification.
A source for the Daily Mail in Spain said: “Ronaldinho is showing great interest in going to England and while there is still much negotiating ahead, it is possible. Also in City’s favour is this: who else can afford him?”
Any new manager will need to have assurances about Ronaldinho’s fitness levels, with former manager Frank Rijkaard especially condemning the Brazilian’s match fitness.
If Ronaldinho arrives at Eastlands he will most likely be presented with his favoured number 10 and the club are sure to land a financial boost from merchandising related to the Brazilian. Barcelona’s club shop was dominated by various Ronaldinho merchandise including key rings, posters, games and his own brands of kits and balls.
City, who also hope to develop their status in the Far East, are sure to grow in support in Asia with the signing of Ronaldinho were the Brazilian star was still voted as the “Best Player in the World” ahead of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo in a poll of the Asian Football fans.
Manchester City had been initially linked with Ronaldinho over a month ago due to Ronaldinho’s agent being present at a City game. However, AC Milan were believed to have won the race for the star but now it appears that there will be no move to Italy for the Brazilian.
Chelsea were also said to be interested and were strongly linked withÃ‚Â a move for the past few transfer windows, but the Daily Mail claims that the “wage demands were too much even for Abramovich”.
[Source: Daily Mail]
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