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Sporting close in on Barca's Jeffren

Barcelona winger Jeffren Suarez has confirmed he is close to sealing a move to Sporting.

Jeffren, 23, has been linked with a transfer away from Camp Nou for some time after struggling to establish himself as a first-team regular under Pep Guardiola.

Liverpool, Udinese and Bolton had been among those clubs linked with a swoop for the Spain Under-21 international, who recently tasted glory at the European U-21 Championship, but Portuguese side Sporting now look set to complete his signing.

"It is almost all right," Jeffren told Portuguese newspaper A Bola. "I go with high hopes. Sporting is a great club where I can play with the regularity that does not happen in Barcelona and also where I can fight for titles.

"I will chase these targets, not only in Portugal but I think in the Europa League we can also have good results.''

Jeffren passed up the chance to move to Udinese last month as part of the deal which saw the European champions sign Chile winger Alexis Sanchez, with Barca instead affording the 23-year-old the chance to find a club that best suited him as he sought regular first-team football.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola told El Pais: "This was a mutual decision between the player and me. I told him if he wanted to play more, the best thing was for him to leave.

"For his age, he has to play. There could be three years without participating. The best thing for him is to leave, so that he can play more. His behaviour has been exemplary. I wish him all the luck in the world.

"He came through with us to the first team and has really helped us in everything. We appreciate everything he has done.''

Jeffren made his debut for Barca in the 2006-07 season but with Guardiola consistently preferring Pedro as a starter, the Venezuelan-born winger's chances have been limited and he will now leave after seven years at the club.


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