Manchester City's executive chairman Garry Cook has put the chances of the club securing Ronaldinho's services at 50/50, although the player's brother and agent, Roberto de Assis, said last night that he is highly likely to move instead to Milan.
De Assis, who was entertained at the City of Manchester Stadium on 5 April by Srisumrid Jack Taweesuk, City's executive director, told Italian TV station Telelombardia: "It is true, he is likely to go to Milan. Everything is ready for the transfer. It is 90% and we are heading in this direction."
De Assis also rejected any suggestion that his brother might leave Barcelona to join David Beckham at Los Angeles Galaxy. "He will never play there," said De Assis.
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani was less equivocal, saying the club will not pay over the odds for the player. "We have to see how much the final cost will be, the transfer and then his signing-on fee. I don't promise anything to the fans," he said.
City are aware of – and have discussed internally – the possibility that the Brazilian might be stringing out talks to see if Chelsea or Milan have better offers, and they have a deadline in place to guard against that. "We definitely don't want to be sitting waiting for a decision from Ronaldinho," Cook said. "A mutual decision has to be made. We know what we want and when we want to make that decision. If people don't want to come then there is no need for this to drag on."
City manager Hughes has not yet been given the opportunity of speaking with Ronaldinho, with City still working through complications relating to his web of sponsorship deals. Hughes has not informed Cook of any desire to buy David Bentley from Blackburn.
Domenech stays on with provisos
Raymond Domenech will remain France coach despite the team's group stage elimination from Euro 2008, French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes announced yesterday. Domenech stays "with a new definition of the conditions of his duty and of selection matters," Escalettes said. The 56-year-old Domenech came under heavy criticism after France were eliminated from the European Championship with just one point and one goal from three group matches. After hearing Domenech's explanations, however, 18 of the 19 FFF council's voters ruled he should stay on under certain conditions, which were not specified.
O'Neill secures a deal with Davies
Curtis Davies, has joined Aston Villa from West Bromwich Albion on a four-year contract after spending last season on loan from the Hawthorns. Davies was ruled out for most of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon but Martin O'Neill has tied the defender down to a long-term deal and Davies is now targeting Villa's derby with Albion on 20 September for his return. Davies said: "I think everyone knows what game I'm targeting – the game at Albion on 20 September. It's a very tight thing but potentially I think I can be back for that."
Weir and Dailly to remain at Ibrox
Veteran defenders Christian Dailly and David Weir have both signed new contracts with Rangers. The Scottish pair have each committed to staying for another year, after impressing last season. Dailly, 34, soon adapted to life at Ibrox after joining on a short-term deal from West Ham in January, while Weir, 38, was brought to Glasgow by manager Walter Smith shortly after his own return to the club 18 months ago. Weir said: "I'm delighted, I've enjoyed every minute since I've been up here. Football-wise there wasn't any decision to make."
Yesterday's completed moves:
Curtis Davies (West Bromwich Albion) to Aston Villa; Undisclosed
Johannes Ertl (Austria Vienna) to Crystal Palace; Undisclosed
Mark McCammon (Doncaster Rovers) to Gillingham; Undisclosed
Bradley Hudson-Odoi (Fulham) to Hereford United; Free
Darren Moore (Derby County) to Barnsley; Free
Dwayne Mattis (Barnsley) to Walsall; Free
Clark Keltie (Darlington) to Rochdale; Free
David Livermore (Hull City) to Brighton and Hove Albion; Free
Scott Wiseman (Darlington) to Rochdale; FreeReuse content