Saudis claim Figo coup
By Nadia Carminati & Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Al Ittihad claim they have tied up a deal for Internazionale winger Luis Figo.
Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad claim they have tied up a deal for Internazionale winger Luis Figo.
The Portuguese legend will now travel to Jeddah on 5th January to ink a 17-month deal that is expected to be highly lucrative for the 2001 Fifa World Player of the Year.
Serie A leaders Inter had been hoping to keep hold of Figo beyond January, but Al Ittihad manager Hamad Al Sanie has now confirmed that a deal is in place to bring the former Real Madrid galactico to the Middle East.
"It's official now," confirmed Al Sanie.
"Figo will sign Friday or Saturday and he'll arrive in Jeddah on 5th January when he'll join the team.
"We chose Figo because he's a big star and the coach of the team (Dmitri Davidovic) asked us to look for a midfielder and, after we suggested Figo to the coach, he welcomed the idea.
"The contract of Figo will be for 17 months but the fee is not disclosed."
Earlier on Thursday, Inter supremo Massimo Moratti had underlined his desire to keep Figo at Estadio Giuseppe Meazza, but the Nerazzurri may now switch their attentions to former England captain David Beckham following the claims from Al Ittihad.
Real Madrid have set Beckham a deadline of New Year's Eve to respond to their contract offer as his current deal expires at the end of the season, and Moratti has hinted the midfielder could come into his considerations.
"I'll try to convince him [Figo] to extend the deal he has with us and then we won't have to talk about Beckham," Moratti told Corriere dello Sport.
"The English player is a champion with a really high value, but in that role we have Figo who is better than Beckham and so I don't see why Inter have to sign him."
If Figo's exit is confirmed by the Italian side then Beckham is likely to emerge as a serious target for Inter as they look to consolidate their lead at the top of Serie A.