PERUGIA DREAM OF SILVINHO DEAL
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Silvinho has been told that he can leave Highbury, after it became clear that his place as left wing back had been taken by England international Ashley Cole.
Vice-chairman David Dein had previously stated that negotiations from a mystery club for Silvinho were already in progress.
"Silvinho is in the early stages of being transferred but we don't want to say anything that could jeopardise the deal," said Dein at the time.
It is unlikely that Dein was referring to Perugia when he discussed suitors, with Deportivo La Coruna early favourites to sign the Brazilian - although that deal appears to depend on the sale of Pablo Manuel to Real Madrid.
However, Perugia are desperate to tempt a player of Silvinho's quality to the Stadio Renato Curi, and they hope that the unsettled star will choose to get out of Highbury quickly rather than wait for bigger clubs to come in.
The Serie A minnows have already sold Marco Materazzi for a fee near to £10 million to Internazionale, and the former Everton defender is likely to be followed out of the club by current left back Mirko Pieri and midfield star Fabio Liverani.
Conversely, should Perugia sell Liverani to Juventus they may receive another Brazilian, Athirson, as part of the deal - which would probably end interest in Silvinho.
Silvinho's situation at Arsenal has been made abundantly clear in the last few weeks, with new signing Giovanni van Bronckhorst taking the number 16 squad number previously occupied by the South American - who has not even been allocated a shirt.
It seems unlikely that Perugia will be given carte blanche to sign the star, with Depor likely to compete with any firm bid, and clubs throughout Europe and even The Premiership likely to express an interest.
Arsenal picked up Silvinho for £4 million from Corinthians, but are expected to demand a fee in excess of £10 million for the speedy defender.
The diminutive star has played 80 times for The Gunners since joining them in the summer of 1999, picking up 5 goals - including a memorable swerving drive against London rivals Chelsea.
Perugia president Alessandro Gaucci later denied any interest in the South American, saying: "Absolutely not.
"I don't know how this false rumour came out but we would not buy a player from Arsenal as this is against our line of conduct."