We'll have last laugh after being ridiculed over Kaka

Manchester City are accustomed to living in the shadow of their neighbours and even now, when they are ostensibly the richest club in the world, they fear they will be unable to compete in the "A" list transfer market against United and the other powerhouses of European football.

City's manager, Mark Hughes, is irritated their offer for Kaka during the January window was ridiculed, while Real Madrid's successful pursuit of the Brazilian is justified as sound business on the part of Real.

But Hughes acknowledges that City do not yet have the allure of Madrid and admits the fees United and Milan are receiving for Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka will further restrict their recruiting options.

City's wealth is proving a double-edged sword. They were prepared to pay considerably more than the £56m spent by Madrid to sign Kaka and gave Aston Villa £12m for Gareth Barry, a player who had only one year left on his contract.

Hughes said: "The Madrid president gave economic reasons to justify the amount spent on Kaka and they were the same arguments we put forward, but no one was particularly interested in listening to us. We had a negative reaction. We were criticised for those reasons. But if there's an opportunity to go to Real or Man City, at the moment the choice of many of the top players would be Real before Man City.

"I didn't know the Ronaldo deal was happening, but although I'm sure we could have made a case to compete, there was only one place he was going to leave Man United for and that's the club he's going to.

"Two of the other big players have a lot of money at the moment. United, with £80m for Ronaldo on top of the resources they already have, gives them a significant amount. Milan have banked a lot of money from the Kaka deal.

"They are European clubs with a lot of history and significant funds to go into the transfer market. They may be in the market for players we're after, but it won't stop us trying to get the quality we need."

Carlos Tevez is a player of the calibre Hughes craves, but United now have the financial muscle to resist City's challenge if they wish to keep the Argentinian at Old Trafford on a permanent contract. Hughes said: "I admire Tevez as a player and I like the way he approaches the game. You'll have to ask United what they feel about the players they have and the ones they want to acquire.

"We'll try to get marquee players if we can, but players we think we can realistically bring [here]. If we're not able to get those, we don't want to sign players for the sake of it."

Hughes is confident he can still sell the City dream to players. Tevez, Everton's Joleon Lescott and Ports-mouth's Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch are all possible targets.

"What we've got to do is offer those players something different," Hughes said. "We can't at the moment offer Champions' League football and that is a big thing for top players. We're not at the level of some clubs and we accept that.

"But we can offer a different challenge, a different goal. We put it to them, 'if you come to Man City you'll be at the beginning of a journey that we feel will lead to something very special and successful. If you see it through to its conclusion you'll make your mark on the game'. Every Premier League footballer is a wealthy man, but the vast majority won't make their mark in the game. You get to a point where you've earned a significant amount of money but here you can make an indelible mark on the game and that counts."

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all