Maxi set for Mallorca loan

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Barcelona have agreed to send striker Maxi Lopez on a season-long loan to Mallorca next term.

The Argentine has failed to have the expected impact since arriving at Camp Nou 18 months ago, but Barca still believe he has a future at the club.

However, they are keen for him to taste regular first-team football to aid his development and have thus consented to an extended loan deal with Mallorca, although there will be no option to make the move permanent.

The Islanders are still to agree terms with Lopez himself, but this is expected to be finalised in the near future with the South American certain to be pushed further down the pecking order at Barca by the imminent arrival of Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Lopez had attracted interest from a host of clubs both in Spain and England, with his agent recently claiming no less than 13 sides had contacted him about his client's situation.

However, Mallorca now appear to have beaten off the likes of Real Betis and Villarreal to the 22-year-old and will be hoping he can discover the kind of form that persuaded Barca to part with ‚é¼5.5 million (£3.5 million) to secure his services in January 2005.