Robinho tug of war: Mancini reveals Sao Paulo's bid to scupper Santos loan

26 January 2010 01:31
Sao Paulo have entered the race to sign Robinho on loan from Manchester City.

Santos are confident they will clinch a loan deal for their former player, who stunned boss Roberto Mancini at the weekend by saying he wanted to quit the club.

And while City will only let Robinho leave on their terms, Mancini revealed that there was also interest in the player from Santos's state rivals Sao Paulo.

Farewell appearance? Robinho scores during City's victory over Scunthorpe in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday

'It is possible that something could happen,' said Mancini. 'This kind of thing does happen. I know in Italy there were instances when clubs paid a lot of money for a fantastic player but afterwards he needed to play at another club.

The back of him: Robinho applauds fans after being subbed against Scunthorpe

'Negotiations are happening but for now he is part of my squad.

'The World Cup in June is a big problem for him. He wants to play for the national team. I understand that but I must decidewhat is best for the team.

'I have five or six strikers to choose from, which makes it difficult for him and me.'

A high-powered delegation are flying in from Santos for face-to-face talks with City on Wednesday, but Mancini confirmed that Robinho is in his plans to face Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final second leg at Old Trafford.

The Brazil forward scored in City's 4-2 FA Cup fourth-round win at Scunthorpe on Sunday in what had been expected to be his farewell appearance.

Robinho is desperate to play regular football in the run up to the World Cup this summer.

Santos have been encouraged by initial talks with the player and his club, but City have insisted they will not pay a penny of the 26-year-old's £160,000 a week salary while he is on loan elsewhere. That decision leaves Pele's old club facing a huge struggle to finance the move.

Sao Paulo could take advantage of the uncertainty by gazumping their state rivals. And while Robinho does not have the same emotional attachment to the club, the move would offer him the chance to play in the Copa Libertadores - South America's most prestigious competition.

Allies: Elano gets to grips with Robinho during their time together at City

The Brazilian season is such that the first half of the year entailsstate championships, rather than the national championship. The Campeonato Paulista - Sao Paulo's competition - is the strongest in the country and got underway earlier this month.

But the real prize is the Copa Libertadores - South America's equivalent of the Champions League - for which Santos did not qualify.

Although Robinho has shown flashes of brilliance and remains a favourite among the City faithful, he was unsettled for most of the second half of last season and quit a training camp in Tenerife to return home to Brazil after initially being refused permission by then manager Mark Hughes.

The subsequent sale of close friend Elano to Galatasaray and the exit of Jo foran ultimately ill-fated loan experiment at Everton isolated him even further.

To make matters worse, Robinho has been totally overshadowed by Craig Bellamyin the battle for the left-sided midfield spot that the South American prefers.

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Source: Daily_Mail