The papers are calling it an 'Indecent Proposal', but Manchester City's €100million bid for Ricardo Kaka' has set both the player and his Milan pay-masters thinking.
The Rossoneri ace's first public reaction yesterday was to say: thanks... but no thanks. But you get the feeling that it's all just posturing at the moment from all three parties as a potential world record-breaking transfer saga begins to unfold.
Manchester City's stance is plain and simple. They want the 2007 World Player of the Year to help them challenge for honours both at home and abroad for the foreseeable future. They have big money and are not afraid to use it.
Milan don't want to lose their star player. But they don't want to lose an opportunity to cash in either. €100million, spent wisely, could give Milan the chance to not only bring in a replacement for Kaka', but also to reinforce in other areas where the first team is seriously lacking at this moment in time. But could they do that bit anyway, regardless of what City have to offer?
The player himself has the aim of becoming a Milan legend. Since his arrival from Sao Paulo in 2003, he has proved himself to be not only a fantasista of the highest order, but also a young man of great humility. He has spoken many times of his aspiration of one day becoming the club captain, talking of how much it would mean to follow names such as Baresi and Maldini in wearing the armband. However, City's bid has thrown doubt into Kaka's mind. He has taken English lessons during his time in Italy and has spoken on occasion of a curiosity for playing in the Premiership.
But if he's to leave Milan for Manchester, it will have to be under the right conditions. His agent Diogo Kotscho said yesterday that a deal is not impossible, but claimed that City would have to "prove to Ricky that they are serious about becoming one of the best teams in the world". He went on to say that "doing a Robinho" would not be the way forward for Kaka'. Having €300,000 a week thrown at him would not be enough to convince the Brazilian that it’s right to leave Milan, one of the world's most successful and prestigious clubs, for a club still very much in Manchester United's shadow and currently languishing in 15th in the Premier League. It's going to take more big name transfers and proof of a structured blueprint for the future for Kaka' to put pen to paper.
Milan fans in bars around the city are, on the whole, not taking the issue too seriously. Their club isn’t desperate for the cash and, for many, Kaka's presence is one of their main reasons for following the Rossoneri to San Siro twice a month.
One suspects that this story still has a lot of legs in it. But don't expect too many Milaniste travelling to Lazio on February 1st if the number 22 has headed for Manchester instead of Rome.