Benat set for summer move
The agent of much sought-after Real Betis playmaker Benat Etxebarria has suggested his client will leave the club this summer to further his international hopes.
Benat, whose current contract ends in June 2014, made his senior Spain debut last summer, but has recently slipped out of Vicente Del Bosque's plans.
The 26-year-old, valued at around €15 million, has spent his entire senior career at the Estadio Benito Villamarin and has impressed in the verdiblancos' push for European qualification this season. He said in February that ideally he would sign a new contract to stay, but his representative Jose Vicente Biurrun has now told Tuttomercatoweb that the player wants to showcase his talents at a bigger club ahead of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
"We are not talking about a new contract with Betis," Biurrun said. "Benat's future is, probably, far away from Seville. We are not going to wait until his contract runs out, but we will look for a club at the very top level where Benat can play regularly and show what he can do before the World Cup. Making the World Cup squad is a dream. That is why we are looking for a big team."
Speculation in the Spanish media in recent months has linked Benat to clubs including Athletic Bilbao, Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, while Biurrun has now suggested Serie A as another potential option.
"Juventus, Milan and Inter are good destinations," he said. "Although at this moment there is no contact, they are very strong clubs and we are open to considering any offer."
Benat was suspended for Betis 5-1 win at Granada last Friday, but is expected to return to the starting line-up for this Friday's eagerly awaited home derby against Sevilla.
Pepe Mel's team sit seventh in the Primera Division table, four points from the final Champions League qualification place currently held by Real Sociedad, but well placed to secure Europa League football for next season.
Benat has four full Spain caps to his name, the last coming in a 5-1 international friendly win over Panama in November.