Carini flattered by interest

STANDARD LIEGE goalkeeper Fabian Carini has denied having any contact with Arsenal or Barcelona, but admitted he was 'very flattered' with the links.

The Uruguayan is rated as one of the best young keepers in the world and his reputation has only been enhanced by a good first season in Belgium.

Carini turned down a possible move to Arsenal last summer because he did not want to play second fiddle to David Seaman.

However, Seaman is now set to vacate the number one jersey at Highbury - which has seen The Gunners linked with a host of goalkeepers, including Carini.

The likes of Rustu Recber, Sebastien Frey and Morgan de Sanctis have all been watched by Arsene Wenger's scouts in recent months, together with Standard ace.

The South American shot-stopper has now revealed that there has been no contact with the North London outfit nor with Spanish giants Barca, who like Arsenal, are said to have rekindled their interest in him.

"Honestly, I have not had any contact with anyone, I can say that from the start," Carini stated.

"I am obviously very flattered to hear these rumours, but neither my agent or me has dealt with any specific request.

"In any case, I feel very good at Standard and I have never looked for another club.

"I met with Michel Preud'homme [club director] recently and we talked about this subject, but I affirmed I was happy here.

"We both agreed that, besides a massive offer, I will be at Standard when we begin again in June.

"Anyway my contract expires in 2005 and I am not against the idea of honouring that whole deal."

Carini recalled how he first caught the eye of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"My first contacts with Arsenal go back to the match I had with Juventus two seasons ago," he revealed.

"On this occasion, I replaced Gianluigi Buffon between the posts in Turin, and I performed very well and pulled off some good stops, particularly one from Thierry Henry.

"The club and Arsene Wenger was then interested in me and, the following season, asked me to carry out a trial for ten days at the beginning of that season, but our collaboration did not go any further than that.

"As for Barcelona, somebody spoke to me about that, but I did not understand what was happening, and then I signed for Standard."

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