Pedretti snubs Sochaux contract offer

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BENOIT PEDRETTI has confirmed he will not sign a new deal with Sochaux, but is not looking to leave France at the moment.

The 22-year-old forward has made a deep impression with Sochaux, with France coach Jacques Santini selecting him in his squads for the recent Euro 2004 qualifiers.

Reports are suggesting French champions Lyon will make a move for his services in the summer, and Pedretti`s comments will strengthen their resolve.

"The only information I can give you, is I won't prolong my contract at Sochaux," he said.

"If I leave, my desire is to stay in Le Championnat. I hope to try a foreign club a little latter."

Pedretti`s contract with Sochaux expires in 2004, and they may be forced to sell if he does not sign a new deal in the summer.

As well as Lyon, Monaco and Marseille are said to be interested, but Sochaux chairman Jean-Claude Plessis tried to play down the prospect of losing their rising star.

He said: "Don't worry: Pedretti feels very well at Sochaux! People try to destabilise us at an exciting end of season.

"Anyway, I am fed up about hearing we will lose our best players. People should talk about the team's performances.

"Supposed contact between Pedretti and Monaco is complete fantasy.

"I assure you Benoit will not leave for Monaco. His transfer there seems almost impossible as ASM has a deficit equal to several Sochaux annual budgets.

"During the summer, they will not have the means to buy Pedretti."