Winger claims Atletico interest
By Laurent Picard
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Osasuna star Ludovic Delporte has his heart set on a move to Atletico Madrid.
Osasuna star Ludovic Delporte has told skysports.com he has his heart set on a move to Atletico Madrid, revealing in the process that he has already agreed on a contract with the capital club.
The left-winger emerged as one of La Liga's surprise success stories last season, and impressed with the Pamplona side as they achieved UEFA Champions League qualification by finishing fourth.
As a result the former Albacete man has become a hot prospect, with French sides Bordeaux and St Etienne both vying to bring him back to his homeland.
However Delporte has now revealed that he is dreaming of a move to Atletico having already agreed on a contract, with the only sticking point being Osasuna's financial demands.
"Bordeaux have called me. Michel Pavon (director of sports) told me I was part of their wish list for a left winger, while Denilson was about to leave," Delporte told skysports.com.
"They were also interested in Ze Roberto, Nene and [Olivier] Monterrubio.
"I was a priority for St Etienne. The chairman has invited me to discuss, and made four offers.
"It was an interesting offer, but I dream of Atletico Madrid. It is a chance to be targeted by such a big club, and we have already agreed the terms of the contract.
"But Osasuna want é¼ 6 million (£4 million), and I have only one year remaining on my contract.
"They may wait until the January transfer window to sign me."
If Delporte remains at Osasuna then he could be joined by Liverpool's Florent Sinama-Pongolle, and the 26-year-old says he would be pleased to see the Reds forward move to Estadio El Sadar if a fee can be agreed.
"Florent Sinama-Pongolle is still targeted by my chairman, but he is more expensive than expected," Delporte added.
"The file is still being studied, everybody talks about it.
"If Florent signs, I will welcome my compatriot with opened arms."
The Liverpool striker is unlikely to be an Osasuna player by the time they kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign as the first leg of their qualifier against Hamburg comes on Wednesday.
The Bundesliga side are a tricky prospect, but Delporte is looking forward to the historic day for the Spanish outfit.
"Playing Champions League football would be incredible for Osasuna, who are more used to fighting against relegation.
"We will do our best at Hamburg. We have been working a lot on our free-kicks."
Osasuna's remarkable rise has been mirrored in Delporte's impressive recent form, and the Frenchman says a move to Spain, originally to Albacete in 2002, gave him the chance to flourish after becoming frustrated at Lens.
"My problem is simple. My coaches haven't believed in me in France.
"My first trainer, Daniel Leclerc, gave me the opportunity to start my career at the age of 18. But then he has been axed.
"The other Lens coaches didn't wanted me to show what I could do.
"I had to leave France. So I joined Spain, where I have been given the chance to prove my worth.
"I have shown I could play football. As a left winger, I am very observed. That is a rare position, that is why we are scrutinised.
"Last year has been the best of my career so far. I have played well against big teams like Real Madrid or Barca. So I have received a lot of offers from Spain and France."
The winger is hoping international recognition follows as a result of his exploits in La Liga, with Raymond Domenech looking to lead France to the 2008 European Championship after their World Cup final defeat.
"Raymond Domenech hasn't called me, but I know I have been pre-selected.
"That is true that left foot players are wanted, and I hope to be called one day for a friendly."