Stuttgart close in on full-back

German side move swiftly to sign replacement for Zurich-bound Magnin

Magnin: Joined Zurich

Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart are close to signing a replacement for Switzerland full-back Ludovic Magnin.

The 30-year-old is set to leave the German outfit in the upcoming January transfer period to join Switzerland side FC Zurich.

The defender saw his opportunities limited with Stuttgart this term and so has moved on to boost his chances of playing at the 2010 World Cup.

But the German side have moved swiftly to bring in cover for the defender.

Stuttgart general manager Horst Heldt told Deutsches Sportfernsehen: "We have already found someone for the left full-back position, we are almost through negotiations.

"We are set to prepare ourselves further and sign new players on one or two different positions this January."

Heldt added that Czech midfielder Jan Simak is also set to depart after finding his opportunities limited this term.

He said: "Jan Simak is in talks with different club, we are both wanting to find solutions for him this winter.

"Regarding further players on the verge of our first-team squad, it is too early to say actually."

Lehmann criticised

Before his departure, Magnin has taken a swipe at goalkeeper Jans Lehmann, believing the veteran's recent behaviour has polarised him from the squad.

The 40-year-old shot-stopper has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after he first criticised the club for sacking coach Markus Babbel, before getting involved in an altercation with a fan.

The altercation came outside the stadium after Lehmann was sent off on 13th December after giving away a late penalty against Mainz, for which he also received a three-match ban.

Lehmann then also refused to travel on the team coach and instead got a taxi to Frankfurt airport where he flew home alone.

The keeper was given permission to take an extra day off per week in the contract he signed with Stuttgart in 2008, while he can also travel home alone from away matches if he wishes, but Magnin believed these 'privileges' had not endeared him to his team-mates.

Magnin told Bild newspaper: "Football is a team sport and whenever things aren't going well, then these privileges are made out to be the problem.

"What may not be an issue when you are successful becomes more disturbing than an elephant when things aren't going well.

"I told Jens this in a chat four weeks ago.

"He demands a lot from his team-mates and I would have expected him to show up for training the following day."