Fletcher rumours rubbished
Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen has denied striker Steven Fletcher is poised to join Real Madrid.
Last Updated: 04/06/08 7:06pm
Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen has poured cold water on persistent transfer speculation that has linked striker Steven Fletcher with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The Scotland international has caught the eye since breaking into Hibs' first team and has been strongly linked with a surprise switch to Spain.
However, Paatelainen has once again moved to play down the talk of his highly-rated hit-man quitting Easter Road.
"I don't want to waste your time or my time talking about it because there is nothing," he said.
"It makes us very bad negotiators because he was worth £5million a couple of weeks ago and it is £3million now.
"I spoke to him earlier, he was just laughing. There is no effect on him at all. He is having a break after a long season and so as to be ready for pre-season training.
"It doesn't bother me because there is nothing in it. Why talk about things that are not there. It is smoke in the air."
Meanwhile, Paatelainen insists he is not wanting to sell Abdessalam Benjelloun either, even though the player is unhappy with the lack of first team opportunities that fell his way last term.
Benjelloun is currently on international duty with Morocco and will be given extra time off when the players resume pre-season training.
The lively forward managed just one goal last season during a frustrating campaign.
Paatelainen said: "It was a difficult season for Benji. I agree. He is a fantastic striker and who can score goals. He scored for Morocco and does that in training all the time.
"He had injuries and when he played we did not get the best out of him. Maybe that was because he was not ready to come back. But he is certainly a capable striker and after pre-season training I am sure he will score loads of goals for us.
"You can never say someone is not moving but as far as I am concerned at the moment Benji is staying."