CELTA SILVINHO DEAL HITS SNAG
By Nic Evans. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
THE transfer of Silvinho to Celta Vigo has hit a stumbling block despite reports in England that Arsenal have agreed to sell 50 percent of the player's rights to the Spanish club.
Celta already have six non-EU players and, with questions over the Brazilian's Portuguese passport raised, the Galician club are understandably cautious in the climate of the European-wide scandal, of signing the star.
Coach Victor Fernandez is still looking for reinforcements despite La Liga due to start at the weekend, especially down the left hand side, but whether Silvinho is the man or not remains to be seen.
The president of Celta, Horacio Gomez, met with Gunners vice-chairman David Dein at the draw for the Uefa Cup and Champions League this week, and Felix Carnero met with the representatives of the player in Vigo to discuss his intentions.
Having lost his place to Ashley Cole in The Gunners' side, Silvinho is looking for regular first-team football to have a chance of breaking into the Brazilian 2002 World Cup squad, if the Samba stars get there.
Fernandez believes the 27-year-old is a "good, pretty and committed player."
At the moment, talks are at a standstill, with Juventus' Athirson an option, as is keeping Spanish international Juanfran at the club, whilst Fernandez waits for the return of Manolo from injury.
Speaking on Onda Cero, Gomez said: "With the state of the transfer now, our interest in keeping Juanfran has not disappeared.
"We are interested in buying Silvinho, but problems have arisen and if we cannot resolve them then we cannot ignore Juanfran.
"Juanfran is very young, only 24 years old and still has three years left on his contract. In addition, the offer from Barcelona was for only 1,500 million pesetas (£5.3 million) whilst his buy-out clause is 4,000 million pesetas."
Neither Chilean Pavlo Contreras nor Ecuadorian Ivan Kaviedes have been given squad numbers as Fernandez seems to have chosen his four non-EU players and in the case of the latter, a loan deal for the season has been mooted.
Contreras is recovering from an injury that will see him out for a month, whilst Fernandez confirmed that as soon as a good offer comes in for South African striker Benni McCarthy, he will be allowed to leave.