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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Depor chief: 'Everything on the line'

Deportivo La Coruna president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro says Saturday's final make-or-break Primera Division game of the season at home to Real Sociedad is vital for the club's future.

Deportivo, currently 17th in the table and just one point above the drop zone, host Real Sociedad at Riazor knowing they must win to ensure survival, and that their visitors also need the three points to have any chance of making next season's Champions League.

A second relegation in three seasons could be a disaster for the Galician club which is deep in administration and over €150 million in debt, but their long-serving president told reporters Depor would remain "viable" even if the worst did happen.

"Everything is on the line for Depor," Lendoiro said. "The most important thing is to be in the Primera, that is the only requirement. There are four teams playing to survive and we are the only one who depend on ourselves, which gives us a boost. The atmosphere will be inexpressible and I hope we will celebrate ending the season well. Whatever happens the club is viable in Primera and in Segunda, although it is easier in Primera."

Lendoiro also suggested that La Real should be careful what they wish for, given the trouble they might have balancing a European campaign with domestic responsibilities next season.

"What they are playing for is bread for today and hunger tomorrow," he said.

Saturday's game could be the last for Depor playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron, who has yet to decide whether he will continue next season and turns 38 in June. Lendoiro suggested a role would be found for Valeron at Riazor whatever happened.

"He has all the freedom to make his own decision," he said. "He has a home here for many years to come. I hope he remains here."

Questioned about the value of his club's relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes, who has provided many of the Portuguese loan players who fill out Depor's current first team squad, Lendoiro was emphatically supportive of his long-term associate.

"[Mendes] is the number one in world football," Lendoiro said. "He has been important for Depor, he is now and I hope he will continue to be. He has not taken a commission for the players he has brought here this season. We must give him a thousand thanks."

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