Arsenal open talks to sign Celta keeper

Celta Vigo have announced that they are in discussions with Arsenal over the possible sale of their goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

Celta Vigo have announced that they are in discussions with Arsenal over the possible sale of their goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

A Celta spokesman said: "We can confirm we're in discussions with Arsenal over a possible move. We never discuss a price for signings - that's a question for the directors of the two clubs."

Almunia, 27, spent last season on loan at Albacete and played a key role as the club avoided an immediate return to the second division. Albacete finished 14th, but conceded only 48 goals in 38 games, the league's seventh-best defensive record.

Almunia said the chance of a transfer to Arsenal was a real surprise, because he had expected to stay with Celta.

"I knew there had been some contact between the clubs but I really never expected this," Almunia was quoted as saying by the leading sports daily, Marca. "I was convinced that next season I'd end up playing for Celta in the second division."

Almunia began last season as second choice to Carlos Roa at Albacete, but an injury to the Argentinian gave him a chance in the first team.

Celta, who suffered relegation to the second division despite reaching the second round of the Champions' League, refused to confirm a reported fee of £2.6m for Almunia, who joined the club three years ago.

Almunia spent his first year on loan to the second division side Eibar and the second with Recreativo de Huelva, who were playing in the first division at the time.

Fernando Vazquez, who was sacked in April as the Valladolid coach, has agreed to take charge of Celta.

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