Date:Thursday July 20 2006
Fans' favourite Julio Arca is set to complete a £2m move to North East rivals Middlesbrough.
The 25-year old midfielder was left out of the side that beat Rotherham 2-0 last night as he was in talks with Boro officials over a move.
Despite seeming keen on a move to La Liga outfit Espanyol, the Catalan side are unwilling to pay Sunderland's asking price, feeling that their offer of around £500,000 is enough for a player in the last year of his contract.
However new Boro manager Gareth Southgate sees Arca as a perfect replacement at left back for Franck Queudrue, who is set for a move to Fulham, and is prepared to match the £2m Sunderland are demanding.
And while Sunderland fans have been resigned to losing Arca for a while now, it would still be a hard pill to swallow should he move only a few miles down the road and win the hearts of the Boro fans.
And while the deal is financially beneficial to Sunderland compared to Espanyol's offer, most fans would no doubt prefer to see him make the move to Spain.
However it looks increasingly likely that, after 6 years of loyal service, Julio will be making the move to Middlesbrough, possibly even before the weekend, as both parties look to tie up a deal as soon as possible, keen to avoid protracted negotiations.
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