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May 30, 2013

Rami to reject Anzhi, Zouma linked

Adil Rami has declared his ambition to leave Valencia for "a big club" this summer while up-and-coming Saint-Etienne centre-back Kurt Zouma is poised to move to Anzhi Makhachkala.

France defender Adil Rami celebrates his late winner against Iceland
Adil Rami does not want to harm his international chance by moving to Russia

French international Rami, 27, joined Valencia from Lille in 2011, but despite having become a key player at La Mestalla, now feels he should seek a new challenge. However, the powerfully-built centre-back insisted the desire for a change of scenery stems from himself and not his club's hope of cashing in on him.

"I'm learning a lot at Valencia and in Spain. Today, I feel good, but that doesn't stop me from saying that I would like to go elsewhere. I read that Valencia were pushing me out the door, that's completely false," he told RMC. "I laughed a lot, because I had a meeting with the club on Tuesday and as far as they are concerned, it's impossible they let me go. I have a [release] clause between €10 million and €12 million, so we're going to see what's best for me."

Russia is unlikely to be his next port of call after he rejected overtures from Anzhi in January having seen another French international, Lassana Diarra, publicly criticised by national team boss Didier Deschamps for choosing a large salary at an "exotic" club at the price of his international career.

"I had some calls from Anzhi, things moved. I don't know exactly what was said. But it's not my ambition. I'm 27. If I go there, I put obstacles in my way," Rami said. "Today, I want to find a big club. I don't think it'll be in France even if I think what Monaco are doing is good for France."

Having failed to entice Rami to Dagestan, Anzhi are closing in on Zouma, 18, who is one of French football's hottest prospects. The teenager, who signed a contract extension through to 2017 with Les Verts only last February, has visited the Russian Premier League club's facilities along with his agent and parents, according to Thursday's L'Equipe.

A five-year contract awaits the €10 million-rated Zouma, who will next week begin preparations with the French Under-20 side for the upcoming World Cup in Turkey.

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