Thaksin Shinawatra's ability to draw on reserves of money in his native Thailand to fund the development of Manchester City remains unclear following the arrest of his wife in Bangkok.
As the Roma winger Amantino Mancini became the latest player linked to the club yesterday, Shinawtra's wife Pojamarn Shinawatra remained under arrest after landing in Bangkok from Hong Kong. A Shinawatra family lawyer said Pojamarn, who left the country in June last year, had decided to return to join the national mourning now under way following the recent death of the elder sister of Thailand's king – and to be close to her children.
But her return is also seen as a move to challenge Thailand's military junta which seems to be trying to prevent her husband's return from exile – despite a marginal win in last month's elections by a party loyal to the billionaire's now-defunct Thai Rak Thai party.
It had been thought that victory for the People Power Party would enable Thaksin to return and then unfreeze his assets. But the situation has been slowed by the PPP's need for support from smaller parties to gain an overall majority.
Such is the lack of clarity at the club that Sven Goran Eriksson has reportedly been forced to draw up two lists of targets – one including expensive players, the other more modest. It is believed that City are trying to secure players on the kind of loan deal – with payments at a later date – which brought Nery Castillo to Eastlands.