Che swoop for French starlet

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Valencia have reached an agreement to sign Metz goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle at the end of the season according to reports in Spain.

The 20-year-old custodian, who is widely regarded as one of the brightest goalkeeping prospects in France, will be out of contract at Stade Saint-Symphorien at the end of the term.

Radio Valencia report that the Che have moved quickly to agree a pre-contract with the Reims-born starlet who in recent weeks has established himself as first choice at Metz.

Valencia are well-stocked in the goalkeeping department with Andres Palop, 30, providing able back-up to Spanish international Santiago Canizares, 34.

However, both player's deals expire at the end of next season, and the Mestalla outfit are only planning to retain the services of one of the duo.

It is thought the Primera club will loan Butelle to another European club next season, quite possibly Metz, to continue his development, before recalling him for the 2006 campaign to contest the number one jersey with either Canizares or Palop.