City deny opening negotiations for Eto'o

Manchester City are anxious that their contact-building meeting with the Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, should not be viewed as the first step towards a move for Samuel Eto'o – which is, of course, exactly how it is being viewed.

City claim no offer is being prepared for the 28-year-old, despite the fact that Eto'o's present contract at the Nou Camp has little more than a year to run, and that he is currently refusing to discuss the possibility of signing an extension.

Clearly it would be folly for City, as one of the world's richest clubs, to rule out a move for a player long viewed as one of the world's best forwards, and who will be a key figure in Barcelona's attempt to overcome Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final.

However, Eto'o has given no indication he would be willing to head to Eastlands – City may be ambitious but they will not be in the Champions League next season and are by no means guaranteed a place in the new Europa League either.

City are understood to be irritated that Eto'o's name has figured so prominently in speculation concerning the chat between their chief executive, Garry Cook, and Laporta.

They argue that while relations between clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea and major European rivals are well established, City are very much still in a getting-to-know-you process.

A line of communication of sorts was established with Milan during the ill-fated move for Kaka, which brought the kind of adverse publicity City are anxious to avoid in the future.

As Barcelona president Laporta is one of the most powerful men in the game, Cook feels that he is someone that he should get to know. It is part of the unseen process of becoming a big club, which goes far beyond merely spending large amounts of money on individual players. City believe the only way they can take their place at football's top table is by building relationships with more established clubs that would eventually allow them to deal as equals.

"There has been speculation about players all year," said the City manager, Mark Hughes, yesterday. "It is something that we accept and has become predictable. The meeting was not about individuals but how both clubs can help each other.

"As a club, we are trying to get relationships with clubs who would not previously have passed the time of day with us. Now, because of [the club's owner] Sheikh Mansour, they want to have a relationship and talk about plans that would benefit both clubs. We are aiming to have this kind of relationship with all top clubs in Europe."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones