Why did Mark Hughes fly to Barcelona on Saturday?

One of the more curious items of news this weekend was that Mark Hughes flew to Spain to watch Barcelona play Osasuna on Saturday evening – the night before City played Birmingham. Needless to say, speculation about his intentions has varied wildly.

Initially there was the inevitable talk of the trip being related to a transfer for Robinho, but this would make little sense. Any discussion of such a transfer could be done by executives of the clubs and would hardly require Hughes to make a personal trip to Spain the night before a match. The reason is far more likely to be a scouting mission of possible transfer targets.

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Balague: Barca have not contacted City over Robinho

Whilst Spanish papers have been full of reports claiming Robinho is on his way to Barcelona, a piece on Guillem Balague’s web site says the Catalan club have made no contact with City since the Summer regarding Robinho.

Balague is more reliable than most when it comes to possible transfers between Spanish clubs and City. He points out that Barca don’t have the £30+ million it would take to sign Robinho in January. Barca’s debts are often overlooked as many tend to focus on the spending bby Madrid, but some estimates claim it is over 400 million euros (which is not a figure the Barca bean counters are prone to confirm in public).

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