Hughes denies courting Eto'o
Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o (File)
London - Manchester City manager Mark Hughes on Tuesday denied that the club had begun talks with Barcelona aimed at bringing Samuel Eto'o to the English Premier League club.
A meeting between City chief executive Garry Cook and Barca President Joan Laporta in London on Monday triggered a flurry of reports suggesting a 40m pound for the Cameroon striker was in the offing.
But Hughes claimed the talks were simply part of an effort to establish closer links to Europe's top clubs following the takeover of City by the Abu Dhabi United Group, who financed last year's 32m pound acquisition of Robinho.
"There has been speculation about players all year," Hughes told Manchester radio station Key103. "It is something that we accept and has become predictable.
"The meeting was not about individuals but how both clubs can help each other.
"As a club, we are trying to get relationships with clubs who would not previously have passed the time of day with us.
"Now, because of Sheikh Mansour (club backer, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan) they want to have a relationship and talk about plans that would benefit both clubs. We are aiming to have this kind of relationship with all top clubs in Europe."
Eto'o, 28, is under contract with Barca until the end of next season but has yet to sign a new four-year deal the club have offered him, suggesting he may be thinking about moving on.