ROBINHO could make his final appearance for Manchester City in tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Scunthorpe after club officials sanctioned moves to offload the £32.5m British record signing on loan to Brazilian club Santos.
Attempts to re-ignite Barcelona's interest in the Brazil forward by offering him on loan until the end of the season have been met with a cool response from the European champions, who have told City that Robinho is no longer a leading target. But Santos, who sold him to Real Madrid for £20m in 2005, are in talks with City over a short-term move for the 25-year-old.
Although the clubs have yet to agree financial aspects of the deal, which would involve Santos paying a substantial portion of Robinho's £160,000-a-week wages, City sources believe a compromise can be reached. Manager Roberto Mancini has been dismayed by Robinho's performances and has told the club's football administrator, Brian Marwood, that he is ready to part with the player. Despite making an instant impact at Eastlands following his surprise move from Real in September 2008, Robinho scored just three goals in 2009 and none so far this season.
He has made regular comments about his desire to play for Barcelona, but Mancini's decision to replace him at Everton last Saturday -- 51 minutes after introducing him as a substitute -- prompted club officials to re-evaluate his future.
With Mancini preparing to rest key players such as Shay Given, Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez at Scunthorpe, Robinho could yet figure at Glanford Park after being named in City's travelling squad.
Having sanctioned the loan of City youngster Vladimir Weiss to Bolton, Mancini said the prospects of AC Milan midfielder Mathieu Flamini and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini arriving at Eastlands this month appear slim.
Mancini said that Flamini was playing very well at Milan, who were unlikely to let him go, while Chiellini was "the best defender in Italy right now, so it is impossible for Juventus to lose him."
Meanwhile, Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville have received a final warning from the English FA and will face disciplinary action if they continue their verbal feud in the build-up to Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final second-leg between City and Manchester United. (©Daily Telegraph, London)
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