x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

City: Robinho is not for sale

Player has not asked to leave Eastlands for Barcelona and the club are angered by 'mischief making'

There are rumours of transfer meetings set up with Champions League holders Barcelona.
There are rumours of transfer meetings set up with Champions League holders Barcelona.

ABU DHABI // Anger is growing at Manchester City over the efforts made by supposed "representatives" of Robinho to engineer the Brazilian forward a move away from the club and into the arms of Champions League holders Barcelona. City's players and officials are in Abu Dhabi this week for a training camp that will culminate in a friendly game against the UAE national team on Thursday.

But in the build-up to the match, a lot of the talk has centred on whether the forward, signed for a British record transfer fee of £32.5million (Dh200m) when Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed took over the club 14 months ago, is on the verge of joining the Spanish champions. The British media has reported representatives of City, Barcelona and the player will hold a transfer summit in the capital to discuss Robinho's transfer.

But City's chief executive Garry Cook said there is no truth in claims the former Real Madrid player is intent on returning to the Primera Liga, and stated no transfer negotiations had been scheduled. He went so far as to state Robinho is going nowhere. "The manager Mark Hughes informs me he has had no conversations with Robinho about his apparent uneasiness with being in Manchester," said Cook, speaking to The National.

"We figure it is speculation from the press, or mischief making from those who would like to see things take a different course." "I've had no conversations with Barcelona. Categorically, there is nothing on anybody's agenda, whether it is the chairman's, mine or Mark's. There is no agenda for this. "One of the things we always say to Robinho is that there seems to be a lot of people who are interested in representing him. But we only ever speak to his father, who Robinho himself says is his only representative. His father is not here so we assume anybody else is up to their tricks."

At least one of Robinho's commercial representatives is in Abu Dhabi but sources within the club are keen to point out no individual is in the city in any official capacity with the club. Yesterday evening the player was at the new training ground at the Emirates Palace hotel which was created so the team have a facility to use whenever they are in Abu Dhabi where he chatted with chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak.

Speculation on Robinho's future has centred on his inability to settle at the club. However, Cook believes Robinho's demeanor during this City trip abroad shows how content he is. "I always think you judge whether a player is happy or unhappy by his behaviour and his actions. Robinho has been travelling with us for the last couple of days and he's always got a smile on his face. Any transfer talk is pure speculation."

Last night a Manchester City source explained the official stance of the club - indicating there was no chance of the player leaving before the end of his contract which has three years to run. "All speculation, reports and stories relating to any move for Robinho away are completely and utterly without foundation," he said. "No mandated representative has had any conversation with any third party on the subject. Robinho is a contracted Manchester City player - end of story." @Email:emegson@thenational.ae