City in Brazil for Ronny talks

Last updated : 09 June 2008 By Ben Collins
Barcelona have given City the green light to speak to the former World Player of the Year, although we're yet to agree a fee with the Spanish giants.

Instead talks have revolved around Ronaldinho's personal terms and many reports claim City are willing to make him the highest-paid plyer in Britain, with The Guardian reporting the figure could be almost £200k-a-week.

City owner Thaksin Shinawatra's right-hand man, Pairoj Piempongsant, is leading negotiations with the player's brother and agent Roberto Assis, and reporting back to the City camp.

And as City's new executive chairman Garry Cook pointed out, the fact talks have reached this point shows that the Brazilian star is seriously considering a move to Eastlands.

"Ronaldinho has intimated he is interested, otherwise we wouldn't be at the stage we are now," Cook said. "More importantly, the fans would love to see him here. He would fill the stadium.

"I don't want to give too much away, but Barcelona gave us clearance to talk to him," he added.

"We had some people in Brazil but we have a long, long list of things we need to get done because of the type of player he is.

"We are nowhere near complete, but the most important thing is that he wants to get back to playing football, and show the world again that he is the greatest player.

"But when you are ambitious as we are, you just keep ticking the boxes and we're moving forward."

City still have to agree a fee for Ronaldinho but Barca are not expected to demand an extortionate amount for a player they are willing to let go.

The 28-year-old has spent 5 years at Camp Nou, leading them to 2 league titles and winning the 2006 Champions League before having a disappointing, injury-hit season last term.

Another sticking point is Ronaldinho's link with Nike, with the sportswear giant also manufacturing Barca's kit. Nike have also been involved in the negotiations, but Cook is using his contacts as a former Nike executive to thrash out a deal.

Cook was born in Birmingham but left in 1985 for the USA, where he made his name in business and was head-hunted by Thaksin from Nike.

"I still have great relationships at Nike and they are helping us along the way," said Cook.

"I am still talking to the Nike guys about what the implications are and they are being very supportive.

"I'm sure the City fans would like to see Ronaldinho kick-off the new season and I have a touch of hope on that one."