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Jan 7, 2014

Pizzi wants to keep Ever Banega

New Valencia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi says his club are not considering selling midfielder Ever Banega, while confirming his interest in taking out-of-favour Napoli attacker Eduardo Vargas on loan.

Ever Banega has struggled to produce his best form for Valencia this season.
Ever Banega has struggled to produce his best form for Valencia this season.

Lowe: Valencia ownership

Banega, 25, has not been in good form for Valencia this season, and was notably not included in Pizzi’s first starting lineup against Levante last weekend, and then picked up a minor hamstring injury during a late run as a substitute in the 2-0 win.

Speculation in recent months has linked the talented Argentine playmaker with a move to Liverpool, while local media this week has said that Italian sides AC Milan, Fiorentina, Inter Milan and Roma are all interested in a loan that would include an option to buy next summer.

While the board may be keen to offload the player, given his wages and the club’s financial troubles, Pizzi said in Super Deporte that he did not want to lose any players at present.

“At the moment we are not considering letting anyone leave,” he said. “We have not thought about Banega departing.”

The former San Lorenzo boss was more forthcoming when asked about Chilean forward Vargas, who is now back at Napoli having completed a loan spell at Brazilian club Gremio in December but expected to not stay there long as he is not in coach Rafa Benitez’s plans.

“What I said the other day was that it is normal to reinforce in attack,” Pizzi said. “What I am saying now is that is where we are low on numbers.

“It is not easy to find players who can make a difference. Vargas needs to play to go to the World Cup, and will need to look for solutions if that does not happen. We will see what condition he is in to be considered as a reinforcement.”

Vargas, 24, is highly rated in Spain, having scored twice for his country against the world champions in a friendly in August, while some pundits also remember the outstanding performances for Universidad de Chile that prompted Napoli to spend 15 million euros to sign him in January 2012.

His agent, Cristian Ogalde, told Marca that his client would likely find a new club this week.

“We are talking with a club in Europe and a club in Brazil,” Ogalde said. “There are two or three options that we are looking at with Napoli. Possibly between now and Friday we will have made a decision.”

Vargas’ arrival at Mestalla would likely mean Dorlan Pabon leaving on loan, with the Colombian attacker’s former club Real Betis a potential destination. Pabon, 25, was signed by Valencia for 7.5 million euros last summer but has just three goals in 16 appearances this term.

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