Sevilla boss fears Beast exit

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Sevilla boss Juande Ramos has revealed the club fear they will have to sell Julio Baptista to avoid losing him cheaply next summer.

The Brazilian striker, a target for Arsenal and a number of other European clubs, is currently refusing to sign a contract extension at Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.

Although he is currently tied to the Primera outfit until 2008, (with his release clause set at ‚é¼25 million), a loophole means he could leave the club next summer.

Contractual law states that players can negotiate a move once they have completed three seasons at a club with a fee being set by a tribunal.

That means that Sevilla could lose him in 12 months' time for a considerably lower fee than they could recoup this summer.

Arsenal have already seen one bid for Baptista rejected with Sevilla president Jose Maria Del Nido describing it as 'derisory', but Ramos has now hinted the club may be forced to consider cashing in on the 23-year-old.

"The worry exists because Julio is important for Sevilla, but there is a bureaucratic matter that could mean he will be free to leave next year," he stated.

"The interests of the club must come first as he is reluctant to sign a contract extension.

"We will have to sign another player to replace him (if he leaves)."

Baptista joined Sevilla from Sao Paulo two summers ago and was originally signed as a midfielder.

However, after demonstrating a keen eye for goal, he has been converted into a midfielder and has already managed fifty goals for the club.