Eto'o deal not on Cook's agenda

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Manchester City are anxious that their contact-building meeting with Barcelona president Joan Laporta should not be viewed as the first step towards a move for Samuel Eto'o.

Whilst it would be true to say City have made no bid for the Cameroon striker, no-one has actually suggested they might. Equally, no offer is being prepared for the 28-year-old, whose present contract at the Nou Camp has little more than a year to run, with Eto'o currently refusing to discuss the possibility of signing an extension.

Eto'o has given no indication he would be willing to join the ambitious Eastlands outfit, who already know they will not be in the Champions League next season and are by no means guaranteed a place in the new Europa League either.

City officials are slightly irritated that Eto'o's name has figured so prominently in speculation about the chat between Laporta and Blues chief executive Garry Cook.

They argue that while relations between clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea and major European rivals are well established, City are very much still in a getting-to-know-you process.

A line of communication of sorts was established with AC Milan during the ill-fated move for Kaka, which brought the kind of adverse publicity City are anxious to avoid in the future.

As Barca president Laporta is one of the most powerful men in the game Cook feels he is someone that he should get to know.

It is part of the unseen process of becoming a 'big club' that goes far beyond merely spending large amounts of money on individual players.

City believe the only way they can truly muscle their way onto football's top table is by building relationships with more established clubs that would eventually allow them to deal as equals.

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