Osasuna swoop for Rifle
Osasuna have moved quickly to clinch a deal for Espanyol striker Walter Pandiani.
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 29/07/07 4:26pm
Osasuna have moved quickly to clinch a surprise deal for Espanyol striker Walter Pandiani.
The 31-year-old Uruguayan had another season left on his contract with Espanyol and finished last season strongly with five goals in his final five appearances - including a hat-trick against Real Madrid.
Indeed, he netted 18 goals in all competitions, 11 of which came during Espanyol's run to the Uefa Cup final.
However, the Catalans have now agreed to sell him to Primera rivals Osasuna with the well-travelled South American penning a three-year deal.
With the move coming out of the blue, Pandiani admits it proved a wrench to leave behind his Espanyol team-mates.
"I am leaving a great group," he stated. "They applauded me (when I told them I was leaving) and one or two even could not hold back a tear.
"I will always have a very special memory of this club."
However, having secured a lucrative three-year deal, he added that joining Osasuna was a "very good option".
Following the sale of Pandiani, Espanyol have promoted forward Jonathan Soriano to the senior squad with the youngster having previously been overlooked for the new season by coach Ernesto Valverde.
Meanwhile, another player on his way out of the Estadio Olimpico de Montjuic is midfielder Ito who has cancelled his contract by mutual consent to find a new club.