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Why Man City must ditch Ronaldinho plan

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Phil McNulty | 09:29 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008

Manchester City's pursuit of Ronaldinho has been an interesting sideshow to the summer of speculation - and for their sake let's hope it becomes nothing more than that.

The latest development, coming from a source that has proved almost 100% reliable on all matters Manchester City in recent weeks, is that an e-mail containing an offer for £22m has been sent to Barcelona, and no doubt very gratefully received.


Barcelona
would presumably wrap Ronaldinho in cotton wool and supervise his safe arrival to the gates of Eastlands for that sort of cash.

Ronaldinho's arrival at Manchester City would undoubtedly cause a frenzy of interest, but what happens when the novelty wears off?

I, and many others, fall into the "believe it when I see it" category when it comes to the idea of Ronaldinho playing for Manchester City.

And while the notion of Ronaldinho plying his trade in the Premier League would have been a truly fanastic prospect two or three seasons ago, I genuinely believe AC Milan would be doing City a huge favour if they outflanked them on this deal.

What would City be getting for their vast transfer outlay and a wage packet that has been speculated upon as being around £200,000-a-week?

They would get someone who was once the world's greatest talent, but is now 28 and has to answer huge questions about his form, fitness and attitude.

Ronaldinho

He is past his peak and was a peripheral, indeed at times non-existent, figure at Barcelona last season. He has had problems with his weight and injuries.

And the move was set in motion before the appointment of Mark Hughes as Manchester City manager, so it was being driven initially by somebody other than the man in charge of the football operation.

Ronaldinho has hardly shown, unlike his compatriot Jo, a keen desire to take City up on their kind offer, appearing to want to court AC Milan and Chelsea rather than face up to the fact that Eastlands might be the best he can do.

It is clear his heart lies with Milan rather than Manchester, and ultimately you suspect that is the deal that will be done unless his old Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari steps in and takes him to Chelsea.

Let's be honest, it is questionable whether he had even heard of Eastlands before Thaksin Shinawatra's riches were hurled in his direction.

And it's a fair bet he could not reel off the names of his potential new team-mates once he has got the name Jo out of the way.

Bold as all this seems, it just does not sit right from either a footballing or financial perspective.

So much of the deal is surrounded by corporate talk, with Ronaldino reportedly being promised City's number 10 shirt to fit in with his R10 (Rio?).

What would convince me more is if Ronaldinho showed a feel for Manchester City, and a serious desire to rebuild his career at the club, rather being surrounded by the financial aspects of the potential transfer.

Don't get me wrong - I applaud City's ambition and these are exciting times for the club with an outstanding choice of manager in Hughes, backed by the financial muscle of Shinawatra.

I am simply having difficulty dragging myself away from the fear that if they have all these millions to spend, Manchester City might actually be better off spending them somewhere else.

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