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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Real apologise to Ajax over Sneijder move

AMSTERDAM, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Ajax said they have received an apology from Real Madrid for their behaviour during negotiations prior to the signing of midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

'On Saturday night I received a message ... that they would like to reopen the negotiations,' Ajax technical director Martin Van Geel was quoted as saying on Dutch TV programme Studio Voetbal on Sunday.

'The club apologised for their behaviour and on Sunday both clubs agreed a transfer fee of 27 million euros.'

Real Madrid made an official offer of 24 million euros last Thursday for the 23-year-old Dutch international and Ajax reduced their demand from 30 million to 27 million euros a day later.

On Friday Madrid's technical director Pedrag Mijatovic gave Ajax a three-hour ultimatum to accept 24 million euros for Sneijder but Ajax responded by saying they would not be held to ransom.

'You can't treat people like that,' Ajax managing director Maarten Fontein was quoted as saying in Spanish daily El Pais on Monday.

'It was intolerable. When we said we wouldn't talk unless it was carried out in an polite manner they got up and left.'

According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Real told Van Geel that they had targeted another player.

'Therefore I hoped on Saturday that they would have signed another offensive midfielder, but that news didn't come,' Van Geel was quoted as saying.

However, Real returned to the negotiating table after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Sevilla in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup and upped their offer to 27 million euros.

'I'm glad we did not accept the first offer,' said Van Geel.