Villarreal close on Cani

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Villarreal are close to finalising the transfer of Real Zaragoza star Cani.

The 24-year-old has come through the youth ranks at La Romareda and now captains his hometown club.

He enjoyed a particularly impressive campaign this term and was tipped by many to make the Spain World Cup squad.

A skilful midfielder who can play on either flank, his form was rumoured to have caught the eye of Chelsea, but it is Villarreal who have moved for him.

Zaragoza do not want to lose the player but, having failed to agree a new contract with him, now look like suffering that particular fate.

The cash-strapped Aragon-based outfit have been unable to come up with a sufficiently-attractive new deal to persuade Cani to sign on, despite the midfielder spelling out his desire to stay.

As a result, Villarreal have nipped in and are reported to have agreed a five-year deal with the player and his representatives.

The two clubs have yet to concur on a fee for the transfer and, publicly at least, Zargoza are still insisting they have no intention of selling.

However, with Cani's release clause standing at ‚é¼8.4 million (£5.5 million) it seems certain a deal will be thrashed out with Villarreal already having offered ‚é¼6 million (£4 million) for his services.

The player's agents admit a deal is close but have confirmed nothing has yet been formally agreed.

"There is a strong interest from Villarreal, but nothing will happen if there is no agreement between the clubs," the player's agent stated.

Cani is being lined up as Villarreal's third signing of the close season with the club claiming to have already finalised deals for Nihat Kahveci and Robert Pires.