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Man City target Buffon, Kaka
London, Nov 26 (Agencies):
Published on 26 Nov. 2008 11:47 PM IST
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While a recession hangs over much of the world, Manchester City are prepared to spend at least £100 million in the January transfer window. A list of preferred targets has been drawn up and, with City having already shipped 22 goals in 14 league games, the immediate focus is on improving the defence. Ambitiously - and rather optimistically - the short-list includes John Terry, Kolo Toure and Gianluigi Buffon, the Italy goalkeeper. AC Milan’s Kaka is also understood to be a target, while Lassana Diarra, Roque Santa Cruz and Chelsea left-backs Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge are being monitored. Of course, the difference between Manchester City’s wish-list and future team-sheet is likely to be vast, yet the calibre of some of the targets only underlines the club’s intentions and, crucially, available money. At a time when even Chelsea are announcing a review of their business, Manchester City’s new found wealth will also inflate wages in football at a time of wider cost-cutting. Manager Mark Hughes says that they “are going to make sure we do everything we can to bring in the players I know will help us” but accepts that there is a danger of prices being hiked up “because it is Manchester City”. After scaling back some of the more extravagant claims of his initial spokesman, Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has promised to support the manager in January and also in the long term. The £32.5million signing of Robinho on transfer window deadline day signalled City’s intent in spectacular style, though club sources remain adamant that the events of August were only the start. With City’s new owner part of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, the club’s funding is relatively unaffected by the global economic crisis. However, there is also an acceptance that many of their transfer targets may prove unattainable in the short term. Terry, the England captain, has been with Chelsea throughout his career and has consistently outlined an ambition to remain at the club until he retires. The chances of Chelsea even considering a bid are also miniscule. The unrest at Arsenal may heighten the possibility of Kolo Toure considering his options, though he signed a new contract in 2006 that is understood to last until 2010. Given Arsenal’s current predicament, Arsene Wenger would surely also hesitate to sell one of his best and most experienced defenders, even if Toure has fallen behind Mikael Silvestre in the pecking order. There is, however, optimism surrounding the possibility of successfully tempting Juventus to sell Buffon for a potential world-record transfer fee for a goalkeeper of £50 million. Buffon, who is widely considered to be the world’s best goalkeeper, was even quoted as advising his club to sell him should such a huge offer come in while Juventus may welcome the money given they have recently announced plans for a new 40,000-seater stadium. As well as Buffon, Diarra, Santa Cruz and possibly Bridge will be considered attainable targets in January.

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