Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kaka: I want to grow old at Milan

Brazilian superstar Kaka has insisted he wants to "grow old" at AC Milan.

His statement is being widely accepted as a rejection of Manchester City's audacious approach for the former world footballer of the year. City were believed to be prepared to pay £500,000-a-week to the 24-year-old.

Kaka confirmed he had received some "major offers" but these had been turned down.

"I want to grow old at milan," Kaka told Italian TV station MediaSet, owned by AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi.

"My aim is to become, at some point in the future, the captain of this team.

"I know there is a pecking order, with (Paolo) Maldini at the front at then (Massimo) Ambrosini, but after that...

"I have already turned down some major offers."

If Kaka sticks to this stance, it will be a blow to City's Abu Dhabi-based owners, who have put the South American at the top of their list of 'galacticos'.

It also shows City might not find it quite so easy to get the star names they want to Eastlands this month.

It had been suggested the Blues have been using the possible arrival of Kaka to try to persuade other targets to join Sheikh Mansour's revolution.

Executive chairman Garry Cook headed a deputation that flew out to Italy yesterday for a meeting with AC Milan officials and left feeling optimistic about pushing through a deal.

Kaka's rebuttal will now see them turn their attentions elsewhere, with Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon one possible option.

That transfer would at least make some sense given manager Mark Hughes is known to be on the lookout for a goalkeeper to take some of the pressure off Joe Hart.

It has been a frustrating month in the transfer market for City, whose fans might wonder how they can offer such vast sums for Kaka - a £100m transfer fee was rumoured - while failing to agree terms with West Ham, Blackburn and Newcastle for Scott Parker, Roque Santa Cruz and Shay Given.

Indeed, manager Mark Hughes claims not to be a fan of the January transfer window at all.

"I don't particularly like the transfer window because you have to wait to address things that could be sorted out a lot more quickly under the old system," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"I am sure there were reasons behind bringing in the transfer window in the first place but I cannot fathom what they were.

"There have been weaknesses in our squad for quite some time and I have not had the opportunity to address those. If I had been able to do so I would have done it very quickly.

"Now we get to January and the prices are inflated, expectations are heightened and the media goes crazy. I don't think it is a healthy situation."

One deal that does appear to be edging closer is Hughes' bid for Craig Bellamy.

Having worked with the Welshman twice before, the City boss feels he knows how to get the best out of Bellamy, and Gianfranco Zola's pursuit of currently injured Blues forward Valeri Bojinov suggests the West Ham manager is resigned to losing the player.

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