Pantomime season is almost upon us, but the contradictory stories over the future of Robinho continue apace.
There have been a series of reports in today's press with regard to his future, and with many seemingly different angles taken.
AS reported Joan Laporta as indicating the club would back the management at Barcelona should Robinho be a target for them:
"We are not going to close any door or end any plan because, although the squad is competitive, as was shown against Mallorca, if the coaches want to strengthen in the winter market and they recommend a player to us, I am sure we can make a move."More intriguingly though is a report from ESPN that suggests Barca do not have the wherewithal to buy Robinho outright, hence the suggestion of an extended loan deal:
"Barcelona have made it clear they are talking about a loan deal only and it is hard to believe that will happen."These were suggestions that were dismissed though by Mark Hughes:
"Barcelona were, at one time, very interested in Mascherano, but no longer. At one stage I would have said 'yes' that deal could happen, but now I would have to say 'no'.
"I would say that Barcelona do not have the sort of funds to buy either Robinho or Mascherano."
And later, and more unequivocally by Garry Cook:
"I am quite clear and Robinho should be quite clear that his future is very much with City," said Hughes.There is no reason to think that will change any time soon.
"All those stories do not originate from anyone from City. It is people on the outside taking a view on the situation with Robinho which they have no real insight into."
“There are no plans to meet Barcelona here this week to talk about Robinho,” stressed CEO Garry Cook after the forward helped open the club’s new training facility in Abu Dhabi.
"I think some people are trying to make mischief when they talk about him leaving. I don't know where these things are coming from. They're not coming from us. We want to talk to him this week but only about getting him fit to play for us again."
I suppose in years gone by, an outright dismissal of these types of reports by a manager and CEO would be enough to kill them, but clubs (including ourselves it has to be said) are known to operate differently in more modern times, and know that a drip feed of insinuation or suggestion to the right areas of the press will have a big impact.
With a return to full fitness now imminent, it will hopefully put the constant speculation onthe backburner - although you sense with Robinho it may never quite go away completely.