Frustrated United hold talks with Joaquin
Friday 11 July 2003
Peter Kenyon, the Manchester United chief executive, has held talks with the Real Betis winger Joaquin as he lines up an offer which could be worth £12m. Kenyon flew to Seville to meet the Spanish international, who wants to move to the Premiership and could be the ideal replacement for David Beckham.
The chief executive made the visit while the club grow frustrated with their on-off bid for the Brazilian Ronaldinho. Joaquin is a major alternative and could even arrive as well as the Brazilian. Strong and skillful, Joaquin made the Spanish World Cup side last summer and was also outstanding for the Betis team last season.
United are prepared to offer straight cash or include the Uruguayan Diego Forlan, who is valued at about £5m. At a push they would reach the £12m but only if Ronaldinho moves elsewhere. Joaquin has fallen out with Betis because he refuses to sign a new contract. And with Ronaldinho becoming more expensive as Barcelona try to sign him the chances of a Spanish signing are now more likely.
One Spaniard seemingly not bound for the Premiership is Seville's teenage striker Jose Antonio Reyes, who is reportedly the subject of a failed £10m bid from Arsenal. Reports from Spain said he had met with David Dein, the Arsenal vice-chairman, to discuss a deal, but the 19-year-old had been less than impressed with the Gunners' offer.
"We didn't so much as turn the offer down as laugh at it," the Seville president, Jose Maria del Nido, said of Arsenal's bid. "Not only did we reject the offer, I told [David Dein] for that money we wouldn't give him Reyes' boots. He said they must be very expensive boots." Seville have already turned down an offer of £13m from Valencia for Reyes, who is a Spanish under-21 international.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, yesterday admitted his frustration with the club's lack of transfer activity, particularly in relation to replacing David Seaman in goal. "At the moment I am still in the market for players. We need a new goalkeeper and that has to be done in the next nine days," he said, referring to the date of Arsenal's first pre-season friendly against Barnet on 19 July.
The club have been linked with a number of international goalkeepers, including Leeds' Paul Robinson, the Colombian Oscar Cordoba and the Turkey No 1 Rustu Recber, who has now joined Barcelona.
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