Espanyol confirm Manninger talks

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ESPANYOL have confirmed they have been in talks with Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger.

The 25-year-old keeper spent last season on-loan at Fiorentina, but, after their relegation to Serie B, there was little chance of him joining La Viola permanently.

Espanyol technical director Sergio Morgado admitted that he has been in contact with the Austrian keeper.

"We have spoken with his representatives to see what the situation is and to see if we can reach an agreement," Morgado told AS. "He is on our list."

Manninger is among three goalkeepers Espanyol are interested in - alongside Boavista and Portugal's Ricardo Pereira, Real Oviedo's Esteban Andres and Coventry's Magnus Hedman - and is likely to be the cheapest of these options.

The Austrian international has a year left on his contract at Arsenal, who want around £1 million for the blond stopper with Espanyol looking to pay around two-thirds of this amount.

This move could prove to revitalise Manninger's career, which seemed destined for the top after his superb goalkeeping for Arsenal in their 1997/98 Double-winning season - in relief for David Seaman - but has seldom had the opportunity to show his best form since then.

Meanwhile, the same newspaper in Spain reports that Raul Tamudo is set to renew his contract at the Montjuic Stadium.

The 24-year-old striker has constantly been linked with a move away from Espanyol to a host of clubs in England and Italy, but has always said he would be keen to stay at his boyhood idols if they could afford to keep him.

The club have apparently set the player's buy-out clause in his contract at £15 million, meaning they have a ready fee should anyone look to take the player away from Catalunya.