English sides chasing Juanfran

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IN the wake of reports that Premiership side Everton have reportedly made an offer for Celta Vigo's unsettled left-back Juanfran, the player's agent Arturo Canales has confirmed that more than one English club is interested in the Spaniard.

The 26-year-old international, whose contract expires in June 2004, is currently out of favour at Celta, due to the form of former Arsenal star Silvinho, and cannot regain his first-team left-back slot.

Everton are reportedly leading the chase for Juanfran, along with Premiership strugglers West Ham, but as yet no clubs have been confirmed as sides in the hunt for the star.

Juanfran played a prominent role in the club's Uefa Cup run, but following the team's exit from the competition, on the away goals rule to Celtic, the former Valencia man has found himself back on the bench.

"Juanfran would like to play English football," said Canales. "So it is true that we are looking into, and presenting Juanfran, to the English market.

"He has said to me, if I can stay in Spain then great, but if I can move to a club in England or Italy, then why not? It would be a good experience.

"Celta Vigo has two very good left-backs, and neither one of them want to be on the bench. Which is normal.

"They had both been separate playing in the matches, but now Celta Vigo have only league matches so it's not an ideal situation.

"We are ready to move the player if we have the right offer. I can't say whether we have an offer from Everton or anyone else, but it is true that more than one English club is negotiating with Celta."

With regards to making the adjustment from Spain to England, Canales confirmed that the player is aware of the climate differences and that is something he would be willing to adapt to.

"The conditions are not that different in Vigo. He knows what to expect," added Canales. "He's 26-years-old and is a mature football player and plays for the national team, so he's not a kid.

"We have discussed what it means to move to a new league where you do not know anybody. Where you have to adapt yourself, not just to the weather, but to the language and different culture."

Canales also revealed that Juanfran's former coach Jose Antonio Camacho, the newly appointed manager of Portuguese side Benfica, had enquired about the defender.

"I was recently talking to Camacho as they are looking for a left-back. Camacho knows him well, and he was asking about his situation."