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Man City owner eyes 6 buys, wary of fees

THE Abu Dhabi billionaire owner of English football club Manchester City will not pay "crazy money" for players, but may buy up to six players for next season, the club's chairman said in remarks today.

"I'm frustrated with people assuming we are going to throw crazy money at deals, that we won't understand true values and we can't negotiate or get value for a player," Khaldoon al Mubarak told local daily The National in a rare interview. "We've had numbers thrown at us that are a joke."

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, through Abu Dhabi United Group, took over Manchester City from former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September, theoretically making City the league's richest club -- taking the mantle held by Chelsea for the last five years under Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

The new owners signalled their intentions on the final day of last year's transfer window by buying Brazil forward Robinho from Real Madrid for a British record 32.5 million pounds (US$59.95 million) and in January failed in a bid to land Brazilian playmaker Kaka for 100 million pounds.

"There are situations where a 10 million pound player will be offered to us for a 'City price' of 20 million pounds," Mubarak said.

"We just leave because at that point there's no point arguing if people are throwing crazy numbers at us, fine, deals won't be done," he said.

City made its first signing of the summer earlier this month, capturing Aston Villa's captain Gareth Barry for 12 million pounds.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo's proposed world record bid 80 million pounds (US$131.2 million) move to Real Madrid could invigorate the transfer market, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes said on Thursday.

Mubarak gave his backing to Hughes adding the club would shrink its squad as it looks to bring in more high-profile players.

"We will shrink our squad and add four to six players," he said. "Key for us is that we trust Mark and any acquisition is based on his view."

"There are two things going on," Mubarak said. "One, a general view of Arab investors and two, a whole hierarchy within football where there is a group of clubs that fall within the hierarchy and the clubs that fall outside don't have a seat at the table and shouldn't even demand one."


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