Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Betis Open Up Exit Strategy for Luque

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Betis Open Up Exit Strategy for Luque

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Gilder

ALBERT Luque could be offered the chance to resurrect his career in Seville after it emerged Real Betis are considering making a New Year's move for the St James's Park misfit.

The out-of-favour forward has been told he has no future in the North-East and, as Newcastle prepare to cut their losses on the pounds 9.5m Spaniard, there has been no shortage of interest from topflight European clubs.

Barcelona and Real Mallorca are both monitoring the situation and, although Bordeaux coach Ricardo Gomez has this week distanced himself from reports suggesting he was keen to secure the striker, his chairman has confirmed that Luque is a target for Les Girondins.

A player who has endured a miserable 15-month spell in the North-East is understood to prefer a return to his homeland, where a reputation shattered on Tyneside remains intact.

Betis are keen to offer the Spanish international a career lifeline and reports in Seville last night insisted Los Verdiblancos officials are preparing a bid in attempt to lure the 28-year-old to Estadio Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.

Real are expected to propose an initial loan deal with a view to completing a permanent transfer next summer.

It is an offer that could prove too good to turn down - with United keen to do whatever it takes to rid the underemployed player from the St James's Park wage bill.

Although Barcelona would ap -pear the most-attractive option for Luque, the European champions and Primera Liga leaders only want the forward on a temporary basis to provide cover for Eidur Gudjohnsen, Samuel Eto'o and Javier Saviola.

With Newcastle keen to end their association with Luque on a permanent basis and Betis interested in retaining the former Deportivo La Coruna favourite beyond next summer, the Seville club could have the edge should a firm bid be forthcoming. …

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