Hughes remains hopeful of Ronaldinho deal

July 2, 2008

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes remains determined to lure Ronaldinho to Eastlands.

Talks are on-going between the club and the player's representatives after he was off-loaded by Barcelona.

City have stated their ambition under Hughes by completing the signing of 21-year-old striker Jo from CSKA Moscow.

Now they want to tempt his fellow Brazilian after splashing out an undisclosed club record fee, believed to be £19million.

Hughes claims Ronaldinho has given out encouraging signals.

'He is a world star and if these things are going to happen they are likely to take a bit of time and we are patient,' said the former Blackburn Rovers boss.

'In the discussions he has had with the club I think he is very positive about the idea of coming here.

'It is a process that is on-going. It has not slowed in any way shape or form and there is no immediate deadline.'

Ronaldinho has been linked with a move to Chelsea under new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Questions have also been raised about the playmaker's form and fitness.

But Hughes remains adamant they can give Ronaldinho the platform he needs to get back to his best.

The City boss said: 'Perhaps in the last 18 months he has not reached his potential.

'We are offering him an opportunity that will stimulate him and enable him to get back to the level he was at before.

'I think it could be an interesting idea for him. Maybe what we are doing here would attract him more than going to an established Champions League club.

'The decision will be his, of course, as I am sure he will many offers. Whether he can see our vision remains to be seen.'

Hughes, who will take the squad to a training camp in Germany tomorrow, is keen to make further additions.

He said: 'We are looking to improve the quality of the squad. As the window progresses I am sure there will be players leaving and being replaced.

'It is an ongoing process and something which will continue up until the end of the window.

'There are good quality and excellent players here. It is just a case the balance of the squad being correct.

'We are very excited about what is ahead of us. Signing Jo is just the first step.'

Jo, capped once by Brazil, has agreed a four-year contract.

He has been on the verge of making the move to Eastlands for a number of weeks and is Hughes' first signing since replacing Sven-Goran Eriksson.

During his spell with CSKA, he won the Russian league and cup double in 2006 and boasts Champions League pedigree having made numerous appearances in the competition for the Moscow club.

He said: 'I decided to come to Manchester City because it is one of the clubs who showed more interest in me, although I had other offers as well.

'After I spoke to the manager (Hughes) I was very pleased.

'I was told Manchester City is a club going forward at the moment. We can go places, that is our objective. I decided to come to Manchester City for that reason.'

Jo revealed Spanish outfit Valencia were City's main rivals for his signature.

He added: 'The club who showed interest officially was Valencia. I know from the press there were other clubs who showed interest.'

Meanwhile Hughes is close to agreeing new deals for captain Richard Dunne and goalkeeper Joe Hart.

On Dunne he said, without a hint of irony: 'It is as good as done.

'He is a really important player for us. It was one of my priorities when I became manager to keep him.'

On Hart, he added: 'Joe is another one we want to stay. We hope to resolve his situation.

'Those negotiations are ongoing but I think there is a will on both sides.'

Hughes' comments came on the same day that Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain admitted both Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o - also made available by the Catalan giants this summer - could end up staying at the club if no acceptable deal can be found.

Begiristain told reporters at the unveiling of Daniel Alves that 'there is no news' on a deal for either player.

'We are waiting for concrete offers from other clubs so that we can negotiate. I understand that this is difficult because there are not many clubs in the world willing to pay these amounts.'