Manchester City's new billionaire Arab owners say they are willing to pay 135 million pounds (210 million dollars) to land Cristiano Ronaldo from the Red side of the city.
“Ronaldo has said he wants to play for the biggest club in the world, so we will see in January if he is serious,” the Guardian newspaper quoted Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim, of City's new owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group, as saying on their website.
According to the report Tuesday, Al-Fahim also wants to track down other major stars, including Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and Valencia's David Villa as City, one of England's perennial under-achievers in recent decades, head for the footballing stratosphere.
Al-Fahim says he wants to build a “dream team” which can compete in the Champions League within the coming three years.
City have already stunned fellow moneybags club Chelsea in landing Robinho from Real Madrid in a British record 32.5 million-pound move on deadline day late Monday.
And now Ronaldo, linked with Real for much of the summer, is seen as the potential jewel in the crown.
“Real Madrid were estimating his value at 160 million dollars but for a player like that, to actually get him, will cost a lot more; I would think 240 million (dollars) (135 million pounds).
“But why not? We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United.
“We want a team who can win the Champions League,” the Guardian quoted Al-Fahim as saying.
Were such a mega-deal to materialise it would be three times bigger than the current world record which Real paid Juventus for Zinedine Zidane in 2001.
“If we can get the biggest players in the world, and of course if the manager wants them, then we will get them,” said Al-Fahim, who has agreed to acquire a majority stake in City, subject to due diligence, from former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Al-Fahim has not disclosed the amount he is paying for City when he made the purchase on Monday on behalf of the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, of which he is a board member.
The National, an English-language Abu Dhabi daily, earlier Tuesday estimated the value of the buy-out at 177 million dollars.
Robinho, 24, will earn a reported 300,000 dollars a week at City, which would make him the highest-paid footballer ever.
On Ronaldo, a United spokesman said curtly: “We have made it clear all summer that Cristiano is not for sale.”
Ronaldo is currently on the sidelines as he recovers from July ankle surgery.
Last season he scored 42 goals to help United retain their Premier League title and also win the Champions League, the Portuguese wideman scoring in the final win over Chelsea.
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