Manchester City, champions of England, have been accused of stifling the transfer market by Arsene Wenger, Roberto Di Mateo and Alex Ferguson.
Roberto Mancini replied with "Eh?"
"This is disgraceful," said Wenger. "I wished to sell Van Pepsi to Manchester United for fifty million, then Manchester City pop up with an offer of one hundred and fifty million, with personal deal for Robin at sixty thousand a week, a big house in Manchester, shares in Apple and helicopter. He's always wanted a helicopter. I think that swayed him."
According to the other managers in the Premiership, Van Persil is not the only player targeted in such a way, with ridiculous offers and personal terms flying out of Eastlands. Drogba, Kaka, Messi, Iniesta, Cassilas, Ronaldo, the list is long, and reads like a who's who of football. But further down the chain, equally silly offers are going in for players like Joel Bembo-Leta of Stalybridge Celtic and the entire Brackley Town team.
"It's clogging up the transfer system," said Alex Ferguson. "Nobody can do a deal with anybody, because every player, available or not is being approached by Manchester City. It's ridiculous."
It has been calculated that should all the clubs with transfer proposals accept simultaneously, Manchester City would have a squad of just over five thousand, and an estimated bill of two billion pounds. Or a week's earnings for Manchester City's Dubai owners.
"We would probably have to loan a few out," said Mancini. "Mainly because they would not all fit in the dressing room. The wage bill is not an issue. Last season I was told to buy the premier league, which I did, this season, I have been told to buy the champions league. This is harder, as there are other clubs with good players. So if I win them all, then they will not have good players, and I will. So I will buy the champions league."
Mancini realised then what he said.
"Ah, excuse my poor English," he said. "I still get buy and win confused. I did of course mean, buy the premier league."