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Page last updated at 22:13 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 23:13 UK

Man City hopeful over Ronaldinho

Barcelona have told Ronaldinho he can leave the club

Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook believes the club remains an option for Ronaldinho despite his agent saying he will probably join AC Milan.

The Brazilian's brother and agent Assis de Moreira told an Italian TV station on Thursday that a deal to join Milan is "90% done".

But City have also been in talks with Ronaldinho's representatives about bringing the 28-year-old to Eastlands.

"Although there is long way to go, we are optimistic," said Cook.

"We will continue to do so until it is not right to bring the player to the club or he decides not to come."

City broke their transfer record on Wednesday to sign striker Jo from CSKA Moscow for an undisclosed fee, and the club are keen to pair him with the former World Player of the Year.

Ronaldinho, who struggled with form and fitness problems last season, has also been linked with a move to Chelsea, but Cook said City are genuine contenders in the race to capture one of the game's biggest names.

"We are in the hunt and have been talking to them on a regular basis," said Cook.

"We know it is a competitive market place. There are some complexities (to a possible deal) that you don't normally associate with signing a player. "Any great player is welcome here as this is a growth club. We are on a journey and are not going to stop until we create a new era."

Manager Mark Hughes is adamant that City can give Ronaldinho the platform he needs to get back to his best.

"Perhaps in the last 18 months he has not reached his potential," he said.

"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.

It was one of my priorities when I became manager to keep him

Mark Hughes on Richard Dunne
"The decision will be his, of course, as I am sure he will have many offers. Whether he can see our vision remains to be seen.

"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.

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

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

On Dunne, he said: "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.

"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."

see also
Man City complete record Jo deal
02 Jul 08 |  Man City
Barca confirm star trio can leave
17 Jun 08 |  Football
Hughes sets high Man City targets
05 Jun 08 |  Man City
Eto'o set for Barcelona exit
19 May 08 |  African
Ronaldinho move to Milan in doubt
21 Apr 08 |  Football
Inter join chase for Ronaldinho
13 Apr 08 |  Europe

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