Hughes: Robinho staying at City
Mark Hughes insists Robinho's future still lies with Manchester City. The Brazilian striker is currently out of action with an ankle injury picked up on international duty in September. Yet just because he has not been playing, he has still been a major topic of discussion.
UEFA Champions League winners Barcelona would appear to be the most likely destination for a player who has never given the impression of being entirely settled since his British record £32.5million move from Real Madrid in August last year. However, Hughes has ruled such a transfer out, insisting the 25-year-old remains a big part of his plans.
"I am quite clear and Robinho should be quite clear that his future is very much with City," said Hughes. "There is no reason to think that will change any time soon. All those stories do not originate from anyone from City. It is people on the outside taking a view on the situation with Robinho which they have no real insight into."
In fact, Hughes is convinced part of the problem is Robinho's non-activity. If the South American had been playing, discussion of his performances would have helped fill a void. Instead, the space has been filled by discussion over his future.
"At the moment Robinho is not fit," said Hughes. "But people still want to talk about him because he is a high-profile player. They have not had the opportunity to talk about him play on the pitch. From their point of view the next best thing is to speculate about his future and there are a number of people out there who are making mischief."
Robinho has come to Abu Dhabi with a much-weakened City squad to get some warm weather training under their belts. The rising temperatures are more akin to what he is used to back home rather than the chill of Manchester he left behind yesterday. However, Hughes is confident it will not be long before Robinho is ready to challenge for a Premier League place once more.
"We are hoping that he is going to train with the group while we are over here," he said. "He trained with the first team, just for part of the session, before we came out here. Now it is a case of stepping up his training. Hopefully we will get some game time into him, even if that means arranging something behind closed doors. Hopefully he will be an option very soon."