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Transfer Rater: Alex Telles to Liverpool

Football Whispers

Manchester City's Nolito a transfer target for Real Betis

Real Betis are interested in adding Manchester City winger Nolito to their squad next season but there have been no official talks between the clubs yet, according to the Spanish side's vice-president Lorenzo Serra Ferrer.

"Would I like to have Nolito? Yes, but we have not contacted him," Serra Ferrer told "El Pelotazo" on Canal Sur radio.

"We are looking to find players that know La Liga and to bring two or three good reinforcements from outside.

"But we have to wait for the new coach to give his opinion on certain signings.

"We know what profile of a coach we want and the sooner we complete it, the better."

Betis, who will finish no higher than 14th in La Liga, sacked coach Victor Sanchez del Amo after a dismal run of results earlier this month and are looking for a replacement, with Las Palmas coach Quique Setien reportedly the primary target.

Serra Ferrer said: "Setien is not a done deal, there are several candidates."

Nolito, meanwhile, recently spoke about his frustration over his lack of playing time at City, where he has started in 14 games in all competitions since his €18 million switch to the Etihad Stadium from Celta Vigo last July.

Reports in Spain have also linked the Spain international with a return to former club Celta. The 30-year-old was one of the top players in Spain's La Liga last season, scoring 12 goals and setting up seven more in 27 league starts for Celta.

Nolito, under contract with City for another three seasons, would have to consider a huge pay cut to return to Celta, according to its club president Carlos Mourino.

"Nolito's return would be a great joy but we cannot pay the wages he earns in England," he recently said, as reported in Mundoceleste. "Another thing is if he wanted to make a big effort, then we could talk."

A big motivation for Nolito to return to La Liga would be his desire to return to play for Spain. Nolito appears to have lost his spot in the national team and with Spain on course to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the former Barcelona player could consider a return to La Liga in search of more playing time.

He last started for City, coached by Nolito's former manager at Barcelona Pep Guardiola, in February.

Nolito has been an unused substitute in seven games, including in Tuesday's 3-1 home win over Albion, since the start of the year.

His most recent Premier League start came on Dec. 26.

Nolito's teammate Willy Caballero, meanwhile, is waiting to find out if he is to play for City for a fourth straight season.

The 35-year-old, who arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2014 from Malaga, becomes a free agent next month.

Caballero told Onda Cero radio: "The club has a few contracts to consider and I think in the last week it will make a decision.

"I want to end the season in the best possible way and see where my future lies.

"I don't know what is going to happen.

"My contract ends in the next couple of weeks and we shall see."

Caballero, who made his 15th Premier League start on Tuesday, says City have fallen well short of expectations in 2016-17.

In Guardiola's first season in charge, City were eliminated by Monaco in the Champions League round of 16 and will finish without a trophy.

"It wasn't an easy season," the goalkeeper said. "We have not achieved the aims we set out at the beginning of the campaign. "We were eliminated from the Champions League early and that was tough. It wasn't a good season but we all grew as a team, as a group, as players."

Heading into their final game of the campaign at Watford on Sunday, City are looking to lock up third place and a direct qualification for the Champions League.

Guardiola's team is third in the standings, two points clear of fourth-placed Liverpool. City are three points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.


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