The true cost of Kaka
Andy Gray wonders if Manchester City's unprecedented pursuit of AC Milan playmaker Kaka is unhealthy.
Last Updated: 25/01/11 7:11pm
If Manchester City's pursuit of Kaka suggests one thing it is that football is losing touch with the real world and the genuine supporter.
Don't get me wrong. I am excited as anyone about the prospect of seeing the Brazilian in the Premier League BUT it has to be for the right reasons and at a sensible price of £50m-£60m.
I think the powers that be at Manchester City are setting a dangerous precedent and one that leaves our game in an unhealthy state.
Ask yourself why Kaka wants to join Manchester City. Now, I have no doubts about the young man; he's a wonderful person, from what I know, a moral man in a sometimes immoral game.
But it is going to take City three or four years at best to challenge the elite and is he really prepared to leave a club like AC Milan to do that? It can only be for one thing and that is money. Why would he want to join a club in the bottom half of the league that is struggling this season? No, it's certainly not a footballing decision.
It concerns me greatly when people think they can buy success; the key to building a side is togetherness, team spirit, going that extra yard, hunger, desire.
Just look at the 'Galaticos' period at Real Madrid, which was far from trophy-laden. That was a side that performed in big games but did not have the basis to deliver week in, week out.
It's alright saying 'here's Kaka, here's Robinho' but you have to have a backbone to your side that you can rely on, one that is prepared to perform in the league and not just on big Champion League nights.
Kevin Keegan spent £100m and didn't achieve it at Newcastle, while David Leary spent £100m and didn't do it at Leeds at a time when that was an amazing amount of money.
People always look at Jose Mourinho and say he managed it at Chelsea. No, he didn't! They forget that Claudio Ranieri finished second in the league the year prior to his arrival so there was a basis and a logical progression.
Mourinho didn't change players like Frank Lampard or John Terry, he added good players to his squad. They had a basis to go from - I don't know where City's is or, for that matter, where they are going to get it from the way this is going.
If you build a house, or football club, on quicksand it will sink. When the owners of the club decide they don't want to be there anymore they take everything with them. Where does that leave our game? I would say pretty much in a mess.
I'd love to know what Mark Hughes' thoughts are. At one moment he'll be waking up thinking 'I can't believe this is happening to me' and in other ways he has been handed a poisoned chalice. People will say 'you are getting all this money so if you don't win the League in the next couple of years you should be sacked'.
You'd think stopping goals going in would be a priority for them after all that's what great teams base their success on. Until they defend better it doesn't matter how many goals Kaka or Robinho score for them; City are going to struggle to be taken seriously.
Moreover, you can bet Kaka will have clauses written into his contract that will allow him to get out of Manchester City if things don't go his way like 'if Robinho goes, I go'. That's someone who is committing themselves to a massive deal not a football club.
Factor in his wages and this deal could cost City £150m. Will that cause disharmony in the dressing room? If I was a City player who was happy with my lot and knew Kaka was coming, then I would be delighted. But there is absolutely no doubt that a lot of players will think 'if you are getting that, I deserve this'. That in itself may cause the club more problems.
The real winners here could be Milan. Whatever they say about wanting to keep Kaka may be correct, but I guarantee you that for £100m they can also see the potential to build a whole new team and establish a new set-up with strong foundations.
They have the chance to change an ageing side around simply by selling one player. It does not make absolutely any sense at all for them not to take this deal.