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Kaka talks are ongoing, claims City

MANCHESTER City manager Mark Hughes said yesterday he remains hopeful that AC Milan midfielder Kaka will join the Premier League club in a world record transfer deal.

A reported 100 million pound (US$145 million) bid was tabled by the English club earlier this week for the 26-year-old Brazil star and former FIFA world player of the year.

Kaka has said he wants to stay and "grow old" at Milan, but Hughes said negotiations were continuing and the club will pursue Kaka until the transfer window closes on February 2.

"It's been well documented that we have expressed an interest in signing the player," Hughes said yesterday. "Obviously (executive chairman) Garry Cook and other people went to Milan earlier in the week with a view to getting an understanding on the situation involving the player and that was done. But to add any substance would be wrong because what we are trying to do is concentrate on any detail that we do."

"We believe the deal is very close," Hughes' assistant manager Mark Bowen told BBC radio earlier. "We are selling the future plans of the club to the player. ... Our understanding is that it is very much a strong possibility that Kaka will be coming to Manchester City."

If the transfer goes through, it would smash the previous world record deal when Real Madrid signed Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for US$65 million in 2001.

City is owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, led by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The group bought the club in September in a deal believed to be worth about 200 million pounds (then US$370 million).

The takeover led to a British-record transfer deal of 32.5 million pounds for Brazil forward Robinho. City has signed England left back Wayne Bridge this month.


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