Reports at the end of the weekend stated that Barcelona had accepted a bid from us for around £22 million - although the source of this was a radio station in Catalunya, which no doubt had strong leanings towards Barca but did carry direct quotes from Barca President Juan Laporta.
Today though, events appears to be gathering pace. This morning started with reports of a 72 hour deadline, upon which a decision regarding Ronaldinho's future and Executive Chairman Garry Cook was enthused enough to indicate that it was a possibility he would join us:
"I can confirm that we have made a bid," he said. "It has been a complicated process, not least because the Barcelona organisation has just gone through a fundamental change because of their elections, meaning that a new general manager is in place and we are talking to different people than before. But in the simplest terms, we have made an offer, it has been received and Barcelona are reviewing it."We are determined to do everything we can to make this happen. He [Ronaldinho] has a commitment to play in the Olympics, which is another complication, but we, like any good club, would allow him to honour his responsibility to his country. As for his intentions, they are somewhat muddled because of the interest from elsewhere, but what I can say is that he has shown a genuine interest in playing for Manchester City. He is not playing games with us."What was a strong possibility is that Barca were tiring of the whole situation, and their revelation that our bid had been accepted and we were close to agreement was merely designed to force Milan's hand and try to flush a higher (and swift) offer.
Milan appeared unduly concerned with such news though and Adrian Galliani ventured to Barcelona to meet with the club to thrash out a deal, one which appears to have paid off as early evening reports are suggesting a deal has been agreed and the player is due to be unvelied as a Milan player perhaps as early as tomorrow (Wednesday). The club website is more cautious, yet has a confident tone (despite the shaky translation):
On his exit from the Lega Calcio Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa, who's in constant contact with Adriano Galliani, made the following declarations: 'There is a good chance that Ronaldinho's move to Milan will materialise. There are still some economic problems, but our law office has already prepared the necessary papers. I've spoken to Galliani, he was calm even though no one has put pen to paper yet, I want to emphasize that. We are all waiting."Despite recent reports to the contrary slavery is not present in the game so he can't simply be flogged to the highest bidder so although our offer being way in excess of Milan's, and with Barca hoping to sell him to us it does appear his heart is (and always was?) set on Milan as opposed to ourselves.
Whilst a deal is not concluded, there is still hope and I have always been positive in terms of the signing, but we have to be realistic in that whilst he may have seriously considered our offer, ultimately the bid is likely doomed to failure.
No doubt, the club has invested plenty of time and money into the pursuit of Ronaldinho and whilst some fan opinion has been negative (in terms of his signing) I feel the club should be applauded for its ambition and intention.
If he does move elsewhere, then is simply time to move on and concentrate on adding to the squad in other areas given that the season begins in earnest in just a couple of days tomorrow.
Milan's website are reporting that a deal has been agreed:
AC Milan and FC Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of Ronaldinho to the Rossoneri's club. Tomorrow the player will be in Milan for the medical and to sign the contract which will tie him to Milan until June 30th 2011.