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Sunday, 07 June 2009 21:53

Saint-Etienne refute Machado rumours

Les Verts claim option on midfielder

MachadoFrench Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne insist they will decide the future of Portuguese midfielder Paulo Machado, after reports linked the former Porto man with a switch to Toulouse.

Machado enjoyed a positive season in France, despite Les Verts struggling to avoid relegation for much of the campaign. The 23-year-old made 23 league appearances, scoring three goals, as Alain Perrin’s side narrowly avoided the drop with a 17th-place finish.

The Portuguese’s form led to speculation of another move, with Toulouse, who finished 4th, strongly linked with a swoop for Machado, who was reported to be free to negotiate with other clubs having completed his initial loan period at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

However, general manager Vincent Tong-Cuong has revealed that a clause in the deal which took the player to France gives St.Etienne control over Machado’s immediate future. “Paulo Machado was the subject of a loan agreement with an option to buy between FC Porto and ASSE at the beginning of last season,” Tong-Cuong explained.

“In this contract it was specified that the option to buy would be raised if the player took part in 15 matches for Les Verts in the 2008/09 season. Much to the satisfaction of the club, Paulo took place in 15 matches and that activates the option automatically.“

The Les Verts boss went on to state that details of a three-year contract agreed by the player had been finalised and then verified and approved by the League of Professional Soccer.

“We know that in the transfer season there are many rumours, but one thing is for sure: no decision over the future of Paulo Machado can be taken without the agreement of Saint Etienne. It is erroneous to consider the player free of contract,” he concluded.

By Sean Gillen

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