Swap deal for Henry could tempt Hughes

Mark Hughes did not revive the interest in Thierry Henry this summer that he had in the player in January but the prospect of a deal to bring him to Manchester City seems more likely after Robinho said it would be "fun" to play for Barcelona.

"Of course I'd enjoy playing for Barça," Robinho told Spanish media. "Who wouldn't? We could have so much fun. It would be a pleasure to play alongside Messi, my compadre Dani Alves, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. They're a great team. I played against them and know their quality. But right now I can only do it on the PlayStation."

Robinho, whose place in the City side is by no means assured when he returns from injury, said that neither he nor his agent – his father Gilvan de Souza – have been informed of any bid from Barcelona. It would be "wrong to talk about this hypothetical transfer until there was a formal offer," he said. But he lavished praise on the Catalans. "It is a pleasure to see Barça play, they seem to be like Brazilians in how they use the ball," he said. "Pep Guardiola's team are real entertainers."

The performances of City's newly-assembled ranks allow the club to be relaxed about the Robinho's comments. They can afford to keep paying his wages but would probably recoup their £32.5m if they sold him. Some kind of exchange with Henry might appeal to Hughes, who wants a player with proven Premier League experience.