City owners targeting Ronaldinho, Torres, others
After completing the remarkable signing of Robinho from Real Madrid, Manchester City's new owners have drawn up a list of superstars to target in January.
City created without doubt the scoop of the summer when it landed Robinho for an English record $58 million on deadline day.
The deal was finalised hours after the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) had its $360 million takeover bid for the Sky Blues accepted embattled owner Thaksin Shinawatra.
The former Prime Minister of Thailand had promised to bring in world-class talent such as Ronaldinho before his legal trouble in his homeland forced him to abandon his grand plans.
But Eastlands' new sugar daddy, Sulaiman Al Fahim, is quite confident of prising the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year away from AC Milan.
"My personal favorite player in the world at the moment is Ronaldinho, who City have tried to get," Al Fahim told
Rumors abound that ADUG, which is reportedly worth 10 times as much as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, attempted a number of last-minute, high-profile transfers besides Robinho.
Dimitar Berbatov admitted he rejected City's approach before joining rival Manchester United, while Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o and Ajax's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were supposedly subject to late mega-money bids.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres are also in Al Fahim's crosshairs as he attempts to lift City to unprecedented levels of success.
"We did not simply want to buy a team at the very top. We wanted to create something. We saw a great challenge with Manchester City," Al Fahim said. "This is a great club with great fans and potential and we aim to realize that and take it where we want to go."
One potential stumbling block is manager Mark Hughes, who was reportedly involved in a number of rows with Thaksin and the board over their transfer policy.
But the new owners are determined to avoid their predecessor's mistakes and insist they will do nothing in the market without Hughes' consent.
"We have a great manager with the same passion and commitment that we have," Al Fahim added. "I will be meeting Mark to discuss the plans. Every transfer will be made with his full consultation."