Vitale confirms three English bidders
By Patrick Goss & Riccardo Burgalassi
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
EMPOLI Sports Director Pino Vitale has admitted his club would favour selling rising star Massimo Maccarone to an English club.
Maccarone has been the subject of three English bids - believed to be Manchester City, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough - but his agent is still hawking the player around the big Italian clubs.
The young striker has already admitted that he would be happy to play in The Premiership, but is still weighing up his options, and this would be the best choice for his club.
"Actually, I have no news about the Maccarone affair," Vitale told planetfootball.com on Tuesday.
"I can only confirm that these three clubs - Manchester City, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough - want him.
"I think moving to a foreign club is not a problem for Maccarone. I think he will continue to be an Italian international player.
"He knows he will go to play for a great club in any case.
"We would absolutely not accept players in exchange. We will only get money from this affair, no players in exchange."
Empoli seem determined to wrap up a big-money sale during the close season.
"We have received three major enquiries at least," Vitale had earlier admitted.
"I can say to you it is 99% certain that Maccarone will go to England.
"Obviously we are looking for the best deal for both parties and a move to England would make both him and us a lot of money."
Empoli sealed promotion to the top flight last weekend, and have already begun to search for a replacement to the prolific youngster - who has become his nation's hottest property.
"We are considering some players - but don't expect any names at this point," admitted Vitale.
Birmingham have also confirmed their failure to lure the Italian starlet.
"A £7.6 million bid was made to Empoli for Maccarone which was accepted by the Italian club," a club spokesman told Birmingham's official website.
"However, the player felt that it was too early in his career to be leaving Italy.
"We are disappointed that he has decided not to come but we will continue to look elsewhere for quality players to improve our squad.
"We have broken our policy of not releasing details about possible signings because the story was leaked into the Italian press."