Scolari: Robinho worth huge price tag

September 13, 2008

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari believes Robinho is worth every penny of the £32.4million Manchester City paid for the Brazilian - even though his bosses thought otherwise on transfer deadline day.

The former Real Madrid player is set to make his City debut this evening against the club that had been negotiating for weeks to buy him.

In the end Chelsea refused to meet Real's asking price and City - having just been taken over by the ultra-wealthy Abu Dhabi United Group - then astonished the world by securing his signature in next to no time.

Asked if City had paid too much, Scolari replied: "No. He's a very good player. If I have money to buy a fantastic house, I buy it."

Robinho was the one player Scolari wanted to bring to Stamford Bridge after his initial primary target, Portugal midfielder Deco, had been signed with relative ease from Barcelona.

But the Brazilian insisted he had played no part in the Robinho negotiations and was content to leave that role to chief executive Peter Kenyon.

He said: "It was a technical decision and when it is about money the board makes the decision. The coach needs to say, 'If I want this player, this is why.' If that didn't happen, the club would buy this or that.

"I am the coach and manager, but I have zero influence on money. It's a job for Peter, not me. My job is on the pitch and that's the way I work. For 27 years as a coach I've worked like that.

"Chelsea offered what they thought was correct but they didn't want to pay for what they thought wasn't correct for the club, the agent, the player.

"This is the correct philosophy for Chelsea. It's not because we have money or don't have money. We have one project and we follow that."

Just as Robinho had been close to joining Chelsea, Scolari revealed he might have been managing City, who had made an approach while he was still Portugal boss.

He said: "They came to Portugal and we discussed this. But, at the time, I said what I said to all clubs, Valencia and the others, that I needed time.

"I was Portugal coach and if I had had an agreement with the Portuguese president, I would have said yes.

"But when the president did say he would give me time to negotiate with other clubs, it was then that Chelsea came.

"They [City] had a big project. It was fantastic and if they follow it, maybe they will arrive as one of the 10 biggest clubs in the world. But now they are my opponents so I wish them all the best after Saturday, not on it."

Didier Drogba returns from a knee injury but midfielders Michael Essien and Michael Ballack are out.

Essien will be missing for at least six months and Scolari could take the unusual step of bringing in a loan player to fill the gap.

He said: "It is a problem and I'll try to solve it this week."