City's owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, and his associates are aware that Adriano Galliani, Milan's chief transfer negotiator, was in Barcelona last night, and that Ronaldinho is tempted by Italy. Cook, however, believes Thaksin's immense wealth, City's upwards trajectory and their willingness to make Ronaldinho the best-paid player in England all count in their favour.
"We are determined to do everything we can to make this happen. He [Ronaldinho] has a commitment to play in the Olympics, which is another complication, but we, like any good club, would allow him to honour his responsibility to his country. As for his intentions, they are somewhat muddled because of the interest from elsewhere, but what I can say is that he has shown a genuine interest in playing for Manchester City. He is not playing games with us.
"He just wants to play football. And the really important thing is, does he want to play in the Premier League? If you were to ask him that, his answer would emphatically be yes."
Cook added: "You sometimes wish all the clutter would move out of the way.
"But I continue to be encouraged because we are ticking all the boxes. That has been the case all the way through and we are ticking those boxes really quickly now."