Date:Thursday July 13 2006
Espanyol are set to test Niall Quinn`s resolve to keep fans' favourite Julio Arca by tabling a bid for the Argentine.
Arca is in the final year of his contract at Sunderland, and while Niall Quinn`s consortium and the fans are eager to keep hold of the left-sided player, he is believed to be eager to move to a La Liga side.
Arca has already spoken to fellow Argentines Javier Saviola and Maxi Rodriguez about Espanyol, with both having La Liga experience, and has heard only good things about the Catalan club. And while Arca seemed destined to leave, Quinn`s new era at the club sparked fresh optimism amongst fans that the big Irishman, a big name manager and a fresh, new direction for the club may persuade Arca to stay for the remainder of this season at least. However, no manager is yet in place and while that uncertainty remains, Arca is unlikely to be swayed, having long wished to play in Spain and in European competition, as opposed to the second division in England.
And while there has been no official approach, reports in Spain suggest that Espanyol are preparing a Ł500,000 offer for Julio. A bid that low for a player Sunderland don`t want to lose is unlikely to be accepted, at least as long as there isn`t a manager in place to make the final decision.
And despite rumours and reports of Sam Allardyce being the new favourite to take the job, Niall Quinn has admitted that there are still 'three of four names` in the running for the job, meaning that Sunderland are likely to play their first pre-season game away at Forest Green without a manager. Clearly, Arca`s chances of staying would be boosted once he knew who it was he would be playing for, and a big name appointment would certainly make the 25-year old think twice about staying on Wearside. And with the names on Quinn`s shortlist rumoured to include Martin O`Neill, Sam Allardyce and Roy Keane, Arca would surely fail to be impressed should Quinn land one of his targets in time for the new season.
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