The recriminations and mud slinging have begun today amidst the aftermath of end of negotiations to bring to Kaka to the club.
Perhaps borne out of frustration, or simply to get make a pre-emptive strike before the inevitable criticism, Garry Cook laid heavily into both Milan and representatives of Kaka (though not Kaka himself it has to be said) with some stinging comments:
“It’s a mixture of disappointment and some frustration too. I think the intention from AC Milan was clearly to sell their player and Manchester City’s intention was clearly to bring him to the football club.
“I think there was some political pressure and definitely media space that they engaged in. To be honest, I think they bottled it, simple as that.”
“It would have been great to have had Kaka at this football club, the Premier League would have benefitted, football would have benefitted and we were willing to make that investment on rational terms. Unfortunately, the behaviour that they showed was not what we had expected nor had we anticipated.”
“We’ve been to Milan four times and the delegation yesterday involved three lawyers that represent the legal counsel for Manchester City football club.
“It also involved a board member who had flown half way around the world from Abu Dhabi, myself and one other senior executive.
“We were confined to a room, with no food or drink, and we asked some questions of the football club and more importantly we asked some questions of the representatives of the player and they simple could not answer the questions.
“What they wanted to talk about was; ‘how much are you going to pay him?’We chose not to get into that and we didn’t make an offer to the player.
“Is he a great footballer? Yes. Does he represent all the values you would want to have as an ambassador of the sport global and were we looking for the opportunity to joint venture in areas that would take this club on to a different platform? Yes, but unfortunately the landscape changed and his representatives wanted to talk about how much we were going to pay him.
“Money was certainly the motive yesterday.”
A widely reported comment from Cook was that Milan 'bottled it', and whilst it made for a great byline, there is a definite truth within this as the fan reaction - whilst not a surprise - was quite vitriolic towards Adriano Galliani and Silvio Berlusconi, and whilst the reputed transfer figure of £100 million was needed by Milan, to effectively force a fan idol out of the club in return for the filthy lucre would have been a disastrous PR move and one that the Milan hierarchy, however costly, could not follow through with.
Kaka himself though believes it was more to do with divine intervention than anything else that led him to remaining in Milan:
'I believe I have made the right choice. To have gone to Manchester City could have been a great project but in the past few days I have prayed a lot to understand what the right team would be and in the end I have decided to remain here.
'I don't want anything else, I just want to be well and be happy in the place where people love me.
'From this story I have understood how people love me at Milan, the fans and my team-mates have helped me make this choice.'
None of us know quite how near or far from signing Kaka may have been, but given representatives of the club (let alone the manager) did not meet him - allied with Cook's comments - suggests it was not as close as we were led to believe by the media as a whole.
One theme that has been raised is the knock on effect this could have in our pursuit of other 'world stars', in that this could damage our aspirations of adding the very top players to the club. I don't necessarily subscribe to that view and would like to think Kaka's decision is very much a one off, in that it was solely motivated by the depth of his feeling for both Milan the football club and Milan the city, and however 'interesting' our 'project' was, a move to ourselves or any other club for that matter was not something he could contemplate at this stage of his life.
The whole issue does not reflect too well on ourselves, something evidenced given the level of feeling we have seen over the past week or so, and it has proved how difficult it is for us to conduct transfer business given the spotlight that has now very much fallen upon us.