Malaga step up Botia interest

Malaga are finalising plans for next season and have contacted Barcelona about central defender Alberto Botia, who is on loan at Sporting Gijon.

According to AS, Malaga’s pursuit of Botia has gone past the mere interest stage and there has already been contact with the 23-year-old, who is believed to be open to the move.

“Malaga is an option” the player’s agent Horacio Zandonadi told AS this week, with the Costa del Sol outfit also admitting that discussions had taken place, although at the moment the situation is complex.

Botia belongs to Sporting, with whom he signed a four-year deal in 2010, but parent club Barcelona have an option to buy him back for €2.5m and everything points to the Catalans exercising that right and subsequently selling him on for a profit.

Murcia-born Botia, who won the European Under-21 Championships with Spain last summer, could possibly be snapped up for around the €4m mark and Malaga are aware of this figure, which is well within their price range.

Even so, the Andalusians may well face competition from Atletico Madrid and Valencia, who have also shown interest in a player who was included in Vicente del Bosque’s full Spanish squad for last year’s games with Chile and Liechtenstein but did not make an appearance.

In addition, the 23-year-old, who will play against Malaga at La Rosaleda on Sunday, is expected to be part of the Spain team that will contest the Olympic Games in London this summer.

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