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Malaga in for Iturra and Santa Cruz

La Liga's crisis club Malaga look set to make their first signings of the summer with Chilean midfielder Manuel Iturra and Manchester City centre-forward Roque Santa Cruz both reportedly close to signing.

Local paper Malaga Sur reported on Tuesday that former Murcia player Iturra, who is currently without a club, will be first to join up.

The defensive-minded midfielder, 28, made 35 appearances for Murcia in Spain's Segunda Division last season and has ten caps for his country. He looks to be a replacement for Enzo Maresca, who is expected to join Serie A side Sampdoria after failing to agree a new contract with Malaga's Qatari owners.

Iturra could be followed to La Rosaleda by Paraguayan forward Santa Cruz, 31, who spent last season at loan at Real Betis, scoring seven times in 31 appearances. Betis were keen to take him back again for this season, but Malaga appear to have moved ahead of their neighbours in the race for his signature.

Any transfer business at Malaga ahead of Friday's deadline depends heavily on whether the club can secure the €15 million that comes with progress to the Champions League group stages. They hold a 2-0 first leg advantage going into Tuesday night's play-off second leg at Panathinaikos.

Ahead of that game, Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini said he was not thinking about possible new signings. "We cannot be talking about every story which comes out," Pellegrini said. "We are just concentrating on the game."

Malaga have taken in over €30 million in transfer fees this summer, with Santi Cazorla, Salomon Rondon, Joris Mathijsen, Apono and Xavi Torres all leaving the club.

No replacements have yet come in, with an embargo in place as a result of the fact the money was needed to pay debts to players, other clubs and the Spanish tax authorities.


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