Emmanuel Adebayor set to join Real Madrid


Manchester City are on the brink of moving Emmanuel Adebayor out of the club today, with Real Madrid agreeing last night to pay the striker more than £165,000 a week in a loan deal which carries a €17m (£14.5m) option to buy him outright this summer.

Adebayor's wages looked like a major impediment to any deal, with City unwilling to pay the salary of loanees who are remnants of the Mark Hughes era and who they are desperate to move on. But Jose Mourinho's need for a stop-gap striker meant Real were willing to pay the player's salary in its entirety.

Shifting the player to Madrid is an audacious deal for City. If the move does become permanent, the €17m transfer fee could rise by another €4m with add-ons under the terms of this arrangement. Even if he returns to Manchester, a loan spell with Madrid could increase the player's value.

Adebayor will command the same salary he does at City, where he has started only two Premier League games this season for Roberto Mancini. City had been prepared to pay a small element to clear the substantial drain on their wage bill but a deal struck between Real and the player enables him to move without either having to take a cut in salary or City agreeing to any subsidy.

The club wanted to get the Adebayor issue resolved – City's football administrator, Brian Marwood, and Real's executive director, Jose Angel Sanchez, negotiated by telephone yesterday – before turning their attentions to moving on Shaun Wright-Phillips. But with some prospect of the Adebayor deal being concluded, Marwood can now begin in earnest discussions which may see Wright-Phillips reunited with Hughes at Fulham. Bolton are also interested in the England international.

The Adebayor move is an audacious one. He was not interested in a move to Fulham and, though Monaco – who sold the striker to Arsenal for £7m in 2006 – were willing to meet his wages, they were struggling to offer the prospect of a permanent deal. But City knew Real were waiting in the wings. Mourinho, who has only Karim Benzema fit among his recognised strikers, had tried to re-sign Ruud van Nisteltrooy from Hamburg a year after selling him. But to Van Nistelrooy's anger, Hamburg have refused to contemplate a deal. Mourinho is understood to have told his players that Adebayor would be joining them, as discussions got under way yesterday.

If the loan strengthens into a full sale and City recoup the add-ons, they will have lost only £9m on their outlay to Arsenal in the summer of 2009. For City, this transfer window has been a highly successful one in moving on the rest of Hughes' buys, with Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge both also gone.

As Adebayor leaves, City have had good reports from Killington, in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where Mario Balotelli's rehabilitation work on his injury is understood to be focusing on work to strengthen the quadriceps around his knee. The knee specialist Bill Knowles, under whose care he has been put, has suggested yesterday that he would be back in Manchester in two weeks – before the Manchester derby, though the prospects of him appearing in that game appear slight at this stage.

Balotelli indicated the night he damaged the meniscus on his City debut in Timisoara that he was concerned about the muscle strength around the knee.

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