Last Updated: Fri, 14 Jun 2013 13:58
Southampton look set to swoop for Espanyol playmaker Joan Verdu after he confirmed that he will quit the Spanish side this summer.
The 30-year-old has been linked with a move to St Mary's as boss Mauricio Pochettino is keen to be reunited with the player he made captain during his time in charge of the Primera Division outfit.
And, following Verdu's confirmation on Thursday afternoon that he has turned down a new deal offer to stay put, it has paved the way clear for a swoop by the Saints.
Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Villarreal and Sevilla will rival Southampton for the Bosman free transfer capture of Verdu, but Pochettino's presence at the Premier League side should put them in the driving seat.
On his decision to leave, Verdu, who has scored 23 goals in 143 appearances at Espanyol, said: "I did everything I could, I believed that I would retire here, but the club has not valued me as much as I had thought.
"It is not just an economic issue but one also of trust, to feel important and more."
He added: "I have decided not to accept the offer and from here I will consider other proposals and decide within the next hours or days.
"I believe I have a lot of football left in me, if the club does not believe this then they will have to think again."
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