Lopez set for Sporting
By Lucas Brown and Francisco Acedo. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Maxi Lopez will spend next season on loan at Sporting Lisbon after finding that there is no room for him at Barcelona.
The Argentinian striker opted to leave Camp Nou again after lengthy negotiations between himself and the technical staff at the club and his move could be made permanent next summer.
A deal was wrapped up after a meeting between Barca's vice-president, Ferran Soriano, the technical secretary Txiki Beguiristain and Maxi's agents.
With Barca adding Thierry Henry to their front line and with youngster Bojan Krkic looking set to be promoted from the B team, the 23-year-old realised his chances of playing were limited.
Included in the loan deal is an option for Sporting to make the move permanent next year after Barcelona agreed that Maxi could move.
A stumbling block was the Catalan club's desire to recoup the ?6million that they paid River Plate for him in 2005 but after an initial bid of ?4million the two sides settled on a deal worth ?5million.
Talks over the player's salary still have to be ironed out as Sporting are hoping that the Blaugrana will settle for a similar deal to the one that saw Fabio Rochemback make the same move in 2003.
With Maxi earning around ?1million per year the Portuguese outfit want Barca to pay ?2million for the three years that he will be in Lisbon.
Maxi is the second player to leave Barca this summer after Giovanni van Bronckhorst returned to Holland to sign for Feyenoord on a free transfer.
Meanwhile, Carlos Martins has joined Recreativo Huelva on a four-year deal and Real Betis are on the verge of capturing Portuguese international goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira from Sporting for around ?3million.
The 31-year-old custodian has passed a medical at the Andalucian club and is set to be presented after a fee was agreed between the two sides.
After failing to reach a deal on a new contract with Sporting, Ricardo opted to push through a move and has agreed personal terms with Betis.
The club have also been linked with Argentinian forward Mariano Pavone, who currently plays for Estudiantes de la Plata and is expected to cost around $6,800,000.
The player has received interest from Udinese and Genoa as well as clubs in Mexico and Greece but has decided to move to Spain with Estudiantes' directors reportedly set to sign the deal for four seasons.