Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City Play It Cool on Arca Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City Play It Cool on Arca Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Manchester City last night moved quickly to distance themselves from reports that Kevin Keegan is preparing to mount a bid to prise Julio Arca away from the Stadium of Light.

Uncertainty continues to surround the future of the talented Argentinian who, with less than 12 months remaining on his current contract, will be a free agent next summer.

Although ongoing talks between the player's representatives and the Black Cats chairman Bob Murray are said to be positive, the protracted nature of the discussions has alerted a number of clubs. Sources north of the border last night suggested that Celtic boss Martin O'Neill is continuing to monitor the situation.

But claims that the South American will be following Claudio Reyna to Manchester this summer have been rejected.

"The club has not made an approach for or expressed an interest in Julio Arca," said a City spokesman last night. "This story surfaced previously in the summer but there is nothing in it."

Arca's position at the Stadium of Light remains unclear and, with the new Coca-Cola Championship campaign now just three days away, the situation is far from ideal for Mick McCarthy, who is hoping to build his side's challenge for promotion around the former Argentinos Juniors favourite.

Should Arca not sign the new contract which has been on the table for some time now he will be free to open discussions with interested clubs in January; vice-chairman John Fickling has already admitted that, faced with the prospect of losing the player for nothing, the club may be forced to cash in.

But McCarthy remains hopeful that it will not come to that, insisting at the weekend: "Not in any way, shape or form has Julio ever suggested to me that he wants to be anywhere else.

"He has been very much involved in pre-season and is very much in my future plans. …

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