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No carping about Kaka coup

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Phil McNulty | 08:54 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Manchester City - at least according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger - are not living in the real world by pursuing a £107m deal for AC Milan's Brazil superstar Kaka.

He has a point. The real world for Manchester City comes when they continue what may yet become a fight against relegation from the Premier League against Wigan Athletic at Eastlands on Saturday.

And that real world pits them up against a club that has become, under manager Steve Bruce and chairman Dave Whelan, a by-word for the sound and sensible financial management City have been accused of casting aside in their pursuit of Kaka.

Wigan, with careful spending and calculated sales such as that of Leighton Baines to Everton and Wilson Palacios to Spurs, have the stabililty and healthy league position City do not look like achieving any time soon.

But should City be the target for such criticism and churlishness for chasing a dream?

The two sides of the Kaka story could not be more contrasting - the one from inside Eastlands looking out and the other from outside Eastlands looking in.

Manchester City fans, down-trodden by years of failure on their doorstep and success around the corner at Manchester United, have every right to ignore the carping and the accusations of financial insanity.

If I was a Manchester City fan (which I am not), the potential cash considerations would be way down the list of priorities as the prospect of signing arguably the world's finest footballer comes into view.

And the club's owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group, will say paying what may eventually be a reported £230m to sign a footballer is only madness, or not living in the real world, if you cannot afford it

All the evidence suggests they can afford Kaka and a lot more besides.

Manchester United were not accused by all and sundry of living in football's madhouse when they paid £30m to Leeds United for Rio Ferdinand, almost the same for Juan Sebastian Veron from Lazio, £27m to Everton for Wayne Rooney and £30m to Spurs for Dimitar Berbatov.

Manchester City fans deserve their dose of unreality. They will feel the real world has been unpalatable enough for them to last a lifetime.

If you had told a Manchester City fan last May that they would sign Robinho and then agree a fee in excess of £100m for his Brazil team-mate Kaka, they would have laughed (or cried) in your face.

And if any football fan around the country says they would not welcome Kaka at their club, providing the owners could afford it, they may just be telling porkies.

kaka is being chased by Manchester City

Let's face it, there is not a huge amount of bad news in the possibility of Kaka joining the ranks of Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres in the Premier League.

Kaka may still not arrive at Eastlands, and such has been the grim existence of most City fans that many would still not rule out the possibility of relegation even if he does.

But if he does, Manchester City fans should be allowed to celebrate it. You know their counterparts at Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United would.

My own reservations about the deal are purely footballing ones, while at the same time stressing City supporters should be allowed to bask in the new ambition of their club without being lampooned for it.

Even in the unreal world, Kaka and Manchester City does not seem a natural fit. Reliable, hardened defenders and a strengthening of midfield should be the order of the day. The projected, but failed, attempt to sign Lassana Diarra from Portsmouth before he left for Real Madrid made perfect sense.

The attempted capture of Kaka sounds like a case of applying the icing before the cake has even been mixed - but I do not expect City fans to complain about that.

City's current transfer policy also appears to be paying scant regard to the fantastic academy built with loving care at the club. It is to be hoped manager Mark Hughes will remain the guardian of that "project", as things appear to be called these days.

And the arrival of Kaka may test unity inside the dressing room. Cliques must not be allowed to develop between the new Hollywood-style arrivals and the home-grown products.

It is a delicate balancing act and only time will tell if the Abu Dhabi United Group can match ambition with success.

Wenger may, with a measure of justification, claim City are operating in a different world to the rest of the Premier League.

But their fans are not complaining - and why should they?


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