City confirm Ronnie interest
Shinawatra hoping to bring in Brazilian
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: 05/06/08 8:35am
Ronaldinho: Wanted by City
Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra has admitted that he is trying to bring Ronaldinho to the club.
The Brazilian superstar looks set to leave Barcelona this summer after a disappointing season and Shinawatra has spoken to his agent.
The former Thailand Prmie Minister would love to see Ronaldinho come to the Premier League and has played down concerns that City would not be able to afford his wage demands.
"Ronaldinho - you know, he is a great player. Whatever the club in your heart, you would want to see this player in England, wouldn't you?" Shinawatra told the Daily Mail.
"It is not a risk. Sponsors will contribute. It will not damage our wage structure. Garry and Pairoj, my chief advisor, they are taking care of this transfer. I am very excited.
"I am 59 next birthday, so I am not a man who can wait for many years to see my dreams come true.
"Ronaldinho is 28. He has much still to offer, he is a star. You need a combination of new players, existing players, quality, young and old.
"I admit also you need a player who is more than just winning the match. You need a star who can play on the pitch, but who can achieve much more for the club. Ronaldinho is that player.
"I am hearing good things about his hunger. I have spoken to his brother (and agent). Ronaldinho wants the new challenge, the chance to play his best football again, to return to the days when he was really, really famous. The magic is still in his boots. Let us hope we can bring him."
Mark Hughes has been appointed as manager following the departure of Sven Goran Eriksson this week, with Shinawatra keen for the club to become a major force as soon as possible.
"I want you to know that Sven is a good man. I brought him to the club and supported him with investment and we still have a good friendship," he explained.
"But I want this club to advance faster, much faster. Sven is a good football general, but we need more. We must play with more consistency, much more urgency. In the second half of the season, the slide was too bad, too much.
"Mark Hughes is an excellent appointment. The players need to be motivated, instead of playing like people who are not being paid any money."
As well as targeting Ronaldinho, Shinawatra is also confident of pushing through a deal for highly-rated CSKA Moscow striker Jo.
He said: "He will cost a lot of money, but he is fast, he is a goalscorer; he will be special and a very good player in the Premier League.
"We will pay the best for the best and to the best. That is my strategy, which is why I want a player like Ronaldinho.
"We need to breed success. Right now, we have a negative cash flow, but within two years we will be making money. You will see."