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It’s been nearly a decade since Man City almost pulled off the most audacious transfer in history

It was long before Pep Guardiola and regular silverware arrived on the blue side of Manchester

These days Man City can attract any player on the planet.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to come and play for Pep Guardiola in one of the most aesthetically pleasing teams in the world, thrash your opponents on a weekly basis and get paid absolute bucket loads to do so?

But as City fans (and everyone else above the age of 10) will remember, it wasn’t always this way.

It’s all fun and games these days

Reuters
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It’s all fun and games these days

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Nowadays, City’s starting line up is a galaxy of stars, each one more expensive and more skillful than the last.
But it has taken a long time for the hiring process at the Etihad to become streamlined to such an effect that Riyad Mahrez has slipped in so seamlessly to the team this season people barely talk about his £60m transfer fee.

When the petro-dollars arrived in the summer of 2008 everything changed when it came to who Man City could sign, but at first their scattergun approach left a lot to be desired.

The ground-shaking signing of Robinho that summer made everyone sit up and listen but that was tempered with arrivals like Jo and Tal Ben Haim.

Even JT couldn’t handle him

PA:Press Association
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Even JT couldn’t handle him

Then in January 2009, City came so close to one of the most audacious transfers in Premier League history.

Mark Hughes’ assistant Mark Bowen told the BBC that City were ‘very close’ to signing AC Milan’s Brazilian superstar Kaka for a world record £100m fee.

This was not like today when the £100m-barrier is broken several times a season, at the time Zinedine Zidane had held the world record transfer fee at £46m since 2001.

So for City to be banding round figures like that was absolutely ludicrous and it was the first sign of the financial might that Sheikh Mansour was bringing to the club.

Especially when they were sitting 15th in the league at the time.

The club offered eye-popping wages of £500,000-a-week to try to tempt Kaka away from his beloved Milan to join a team that was very much a project at that stage.

Iconic

Times Newspapers Ltd
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Iconic

Although, somehow the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner resisted the glow of cash on offer and the opportunity to play under Hughes to stay at the San Siro.

And can you imagine the scenes in training if he had turned up?

Nedum Onuoha, Ched Evans and Javier Garrido trying to keep up with Kaka in his prime…

You have to applaud the audacity of City to think that they could lure one of the best talents in the world to the club in order to kickstart the project.

But to be honest, it would have been the most bonkers transfer in Premier League history.

That’s more like it

Getty Images - Getty
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That’s more like it

Thankfully, normal order was restored later that year as Real Madrid did break the world transfer record to take Kaka to the Bernabeu for £56m.

City on the other hand ended up with Gareth Barry coming in in midfield and Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor arriving up front to provide the goals.

But oh what could have been.


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