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Robinho joins Manchester City for British record fee

  • Story Highlights
  • Manchester City sign Robinho from Real Madrid in the £32.5m ($58m) deal
  • Brazilian star, 24, had been expected to join rival Premier League side Chelsea
  • Transfer deadline day deal came after City were taken over by Abu Dhabi group
  • City also bid for Dimitar Berbatov, but Bulgarian opted to join Manchester Utd.
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(CNN) -- Manchester City have completed a sensational transfer deadline-day swoop for Brazilian forward Robinho in an estimated £32.5 million ($58 million) deal with Real Madrid, following the English Premier League club's takeover by an Abu Dhabi group on Monday.

Thaksin will remain as honorary president of Manchester City without an administrative role.

Brazilian Robinho joins Manchester City for a British transfer record of 32.5 million.

Chelsea had been leading the chase for Robinho, who had insisted he wanted to play for the London club.

However, Real had stood firm in insisting that they did not want to sell 24-year-old Robinho and refused numerous Chelsea offers in recent weeks, putting an end to that deal.

But City -- with new financial clout provided by their Middle East-based owners -- met the valuation placed on Robinho by the Spanish giants, breaking the British transfer record.

Robinho told City's Web site: "I knew that Manchester City is a very big club, there's a great team there already and this is an exciting project.

"I liked the project, and when City made the offer to Real Madrid, I decided to come here. I liked the plans that Manchester City have and I want to succeed with them."

Robinho confirmed the presence of his international team-mates Jo and Elano at City was a factor in his decision to sign, even though Chelsea appeared a more likely destination at the start of transfer deadline day.

Hughes, who had a playing spell in Spain with Barcelona, has spoken to his new signing and Robinho is keen to work with the former Blackburn and Wales manager.

"I met with the manager today and it went very well," said Robinho. "I know that he was a great player and I think that will be a big help to me. I want to help the manager and the team to win the Premier League, that's my ambition here."

City also attempted to muscle in on arch-rivals Manchester United's acquisition of Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Tottenham accepted City's bid for Berbatov, but the Bulgarian international opted to join the Premier League champions.

Earlier in the day, City agreed to a takeover by the United Arab Emirates business group, a deal that will end former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's brief ownership of the Premier League club.

The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment will now look at the club's accounts and contracts before a takeover is officially completed.

The group reached an agreement late on Sunday night with Thaksin, said board member Sulaiman Al-Fahim, who brokered the deal.

Thaksin will retain a minority stake and remain on the board as honorary president without any administrative responsibilities, Al-Fahim said.

The club said in a statement that a "memorandum of understanding" has been signed and the deal is subject to a due diligence, allowing investors to request information from Man City and the Premier League.

Financial terms were not immediately available, but the UAE group described it as a "huge takeover" which gives the consortium "all the management rights."

Thaksin, who bought City last June, had his assets frozen and fled to Britain last month to escape corruption charges in Thailand, claiming that he could not be assured of a fair trial.

Al-Fahim -- chief executive of Abu Dhabi-based developer Hydra Properties -- reached the deal with Thaksin and Khalid Kadfour Al-Muhairy, the legal chief of the Emirates Group. Al-Fahim said the group was attracted to the "richest European competition with more than $3 billion revenue."

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Like Thaksin, the new owners want manager Mark Hughes to deliver Champions League qualification by breaking into the top four of the Premier League.

After two wins in their first three matches of the season, City are third in the standings -- one point behind leaders Chelsea.

Al-Fahim said on Tuesday that Hughes would be given the financial clout to help him meet the aspirations of the new owners.

He told Sky Sports News that he plans to meet Hughes and talk over future transfer targets.

"I will come to the UK in a few days to meet the manager Mark (Hughes)," he said. "We will sit down with him and see what it is he needs now."


Confirming that the bid to sign Berbatov from Tottenham ahead of city rivals United was a serious one, he added:

"That was genuine. It was very close but we couldn't get him, we were unlucky." Of the takeover he said: "It might take a month, it depends on the final approval of the authorities."

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