Lille chief plays hardball over Toon target Debuchy

Lille president Michel Seydoux has told Newcastle to forget about signing Mathieu Debuchy after rejecting their latest offer.

It emerged yesterday that the Magpies had tabled an improved offer for the 27-year-old France international after a pursuit lasting months. However, Lille, who sold midfielder Yohan Cabaye to the Tyneside club for a bargain £4.8 million (€6.1m) last summer, have refused to budge on their valuation.

Seydoux said: “I have decided Mathieu Debuchy will remain at LOSC. The offer from Newcastle is definitely not at the value of the player.”

Lille are understood to value Debuchy at around €8m — and while the Magpies’ initial offer has been improved, it is yet to reach a level at which they are prepared to do business.

Seydoux’s stance could represent a bargaining ploy, although Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has developed a reputation for refusing to pay more than the valuation he and his staff have placed on any player.

Current Magpies right-back Danny Simpson has only a year left on his contract and is yet to agree a new deal, sparking speculation he could leave Tyneside.

It has proved a testing summer for manager Alan Pardew as he waits for deals to be done, with the big names on his wish list remaining elusive.

But equally, Debuchy has set his heart on a transfer which looked to have moved a step closer when Lille signed Djibril Sidibe from Troyes last month, and he is unlikely to take kindly to his current club’s decision.

While Newcastle may miss out, Arsenal may have finally got their man.

Malaga midfielder Santi Cazorla looked to have confirmed his move to north London last night.

Cazorla, who has won 47 caps for Spain, starred last season as Malaga qualified for the Champions League.

The Spaniard was quoted as saying the move to the Gunners was done and that he was an Arsenal player.

Meanwhile, Chelsea winger Kevin de Bruyne has agreed to join German side Werder Bremen on a season-long loan.

The 21-year-old Belgian arrived at Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window and was immediately loaned back to former club Genk.

He made his Chelsea debut in the 4-2 friendly win over Seattle Sounders during the recent tour to America but Chelsea last night confirmed he is to continue his development at Werder Bremen.

De Bruyne, who has been capped twice by Belgium, scored eight goals in 22 games upon his return to Genk.

Wigan last night completed the signing of Ivan Ramis on a three-year contract from Real Mallorca for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old defender looked set to join West Ham and the player was heading to London for a medical. However, Ramis elected to join Wigan and chairman Dave Whelan believes his manager Roberto Martinez should be the one credited with persuading the centre-half to move to the north-west.

“It’s down to the influence of Roberto,” Whelan said. “The player doesn’t speak English and didn’t want to go to West Ham, who had already agreed a deal. But Roberto asked me to go out to Mallorca where I met their chairman and with the club in receivership, they accepted my offer and then I went to see the player.”

Although West Ham missed out on Ramis they completed the signing of James Collins from Aston Villa on Tuesday after the Wales defender agreed a four-year contract, three seasons after leaving Upton Park for the midlands.

Elsewhere, Everton have confirmed they are in discussions with Fenerbahce regarding a transfer of Joseph Yobo to the Turkish club, while Heidar Helguson has joined Cardiff on a one-year contract from QPR.

Petrov winning cancer battle

By John Curtis

Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov appears to be winning his fight to overcome acute leukaemia after the club confirmed the midfielder is in remission.

Bulgarian international Petrov has been undergoing regular treatment at a London hospital since his diagnosis with the illness four months ago shocked the football world.

Now the player nicknamed ‘Stan’ has received a positive bulletin in his battle to defeat the cancer.

Villa, in a club statement, said: “It is with great delight that the club can confirm on behalf of our long-standing captain, Stiliyan Petrov, that Stan’s acute leukaemia is in remission.”


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