Friday, January 23, 2009

Mark Hughes to hold Manchester City showdown talks with Robinho

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes will hold showdown talks with Robinho when the Brazilian returns to England this weekend.

Hughes will meet the British record signing, who has been told to expect a £320,000 fine for going AWOL, on the player's 25th birthday on Sunday to explain his unauthorised disappearance from their Tenerife training camp.

Hughes will clear the air amid concerns Robinho is unsettled and point out that such behaviour will not be tolerated. Hughes said: "Robbie felt he had personal things he needed to attend to. He did not leave with my permission but it is not practical to get him back to Tenerife because of time differences.

"I'll explain my feelings, and we'll make a decision. He felt there were things to address back home and so he, wrongly, made that decision."

Robinho telephoned Hughes on Tuesday night and the pair had a brief conversation which Hughes admits was constrained by the language barrier. The player insisted on his website yesterday that he is happy in Manchester.

He said: "I have a good relationship with the coach Hughes and have always respected his decisions. He is the boss."

Sources at City dismissed reports linking the club with moves for Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba. No bid has been lodged for either and they are not likely to be this month.

Chelsea insist Drogba is not for sale while Henry is said to be settled at Nou Camp, where he has been in sparkling form, and is unwilling to miss out on the Champions League at this late stage in his career. It is understood no moves of that scale are planned for the remaining eight days of the January transfer window, with chief executive Garry Cook admitting that such a complex transfer would take 10 weeks.

Offers remain for Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and the Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz. But the Santa Cruz saga took another turn last night when it was revealed Eidur Gudjohnsen, another Barcelona striker, was unwilling to leave Spain to join Rovers.

Celtic have also shown interest in City's young striker Ched Evans.

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