City make mark in window despite Kaka snub

Manchester City failed with one of the most audacious transfer bids of all time but despite Kaka's refusal to leave AC Milan the world's richest club still left their fingerprints all over the January transfer window.

As a statement of intent City's 100 million pounds ($143.1 million) offer was about as bold as it gets and, undeterred by the Brazil playmaker's rebuff, they spent about 50 million pounds on more modest players.

Real Madrid were also in the market thanks to City's largesse, most of the $50 million they spent on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra coming after the sale of Robinho to the Premier League club last year.

The only other serious money being spent was by Tottenham Hotspur, another Premier League club with billionaire backing who completed an unusual buy-back programme by re-signing Robbie Keane from Liverpool on deadline day.

Elsewhere, belts were being tightened.

There were hardly any significant deals in Germany or France, no one spent like Real in Spain and Manchester United's closest rivals in England were strangely quiet.

Arsenal were haggling over a deal for Zenit St Petersburg's Andrei Arshavin, Liverpool shipped Keane back to Tottenham without a replacement up their sleeve and Chelsea were bit-part players.

The lack of noise from some of Europe's biggest clubs was perhaps the most eloquent statement about the transfer market during this global credit crunch.

AMBITIOUS PLANS

City, owned by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayad al Nahyan, have no such problems as they try to break into the elite and they certainly made the big clubs take notice with their bid for Kaka.

"It was a big, bold statement of intent," Dan Jones, editor of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance, told Reuters.

"They were saying they wanted a place at the top table, not to be just another Premier League club.

"I said before that even if it didn't go through it would move them to the next level and I think that's happened."

In business that City did manage to conclude, in came Nigel de Jong from Hamburg SV for 16 million pounds, Craig Bellamy from West Ham United and Wayne Bridge from Chelsea for slightly smaller fees and Shay Given, the Newcastle United goalkeeper, for an estimated seven million pounds.

Tottenham re-signed Jermain Defoe from Portsmouth for 15 million pounds, risked almost as much on buying Wilson Palacios from Wigan Athletic and also brought back France defender Pascal Chimbonda from Sunderland.

BRISK BUSINESS

They then managed to conclude the deal for Liverpool misfit Keane, despite the appalling weather on deadline day. Media reports said they would pay around 15 of the 20 million pounds Liverpool forked out for the Ireland forward six months ago.

Manchester United could afford to take a long-term view by signing youngsters Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Partizan Belgrade for an estimated 16 million pounds.

The transfer window in France was quiet.

Olympique Marseille signed Brazilian Brandao from Shakhtar Donetsk and Sylvain Wiltord on a six