Betis´ Valdez bid reliant on solution to Emana dispute
Real Betis are set to make a move for Hércules striker Nelson Valdez if they can manage to sell star midfielder Emana, who has been in dispute with Los Verdiblancos for the past couple of months. Cameroon international Emana has a contract far in excess of the €600,000-a-year salary cap imposed by the club´s administrators and has refused to take a pay cut, with his case further complicated this week when Betis turned down a bid from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal which fell short of their €4.5m valuation.
The 29-year-old, who has made almost 100 league appearances since a €6m transfer from Toulouse in July, 2008, responded by refusing to join this week´s pre-season tour to England and Wales, but if he is able to be offloaded before the transfer deadline then boss Pepe Mel will swoop for Valdez. The Paraguayan has just returned from a successful Copa America campaign, where his country finished runners-up to Uruguay, and would be receptive to a return to the top flight where he scored eight goals last season as Hércules´ suffered relegation.
A sticking point to any deal is the fact the Alicante-based club are refusing to negotiate at anything below their €4m asking price, a figure prohibitive to Betis´ administrators despite them requiring an approximate amount for Emana. However, the Andalusians will attempt to lower their total expenditure by offering defenders Arzu and Fernando Vega in part-exchange, although Hércules will only listen to the possibility of forwards Momo and Jonathan Pereira moving to the Estadio José Rico Pérez.
Valdez, 27, spent nine years in Germany with Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund before his €3.5m club-record move to Hércules 12 months ago, but is not the only striker to have been sounded out this summer. Names such as Real Valladolid´s Javi Guerra and Jonathan Soriano of Barcelona have been high on Mel´s list of priorities, yet moves for both have had to be ditched with Betis not being able to afford either.
Another option could be Birmingham City´s giant striker Nikola Zigic, whose aerial threat Mel sees as a complement to the speed and versatility of forwards such as Rubén Castro, Ezequiel, Pereira, Pozuelo, Sergio León and Álvaro Vadillo.
Even so, with Emana having declared he is in no rush to leave the Benito Villamarín, time is running out for Betis to raise the cash required to dip into the market and they will be hoping the situation is resolved quickly. In a curious twist to the affair Al-Hilal are also on the trail of Valdez, whom they enquired about some weeks ago.