giants in £17m Seedorf-Coco swap deal
Friday 31st May 2002
Italy wing-back Francesco Coco will leave
AC Milan for Internazionale and Holland midfielder Clarence Seedorf is
to travel in the opposite direction after the city rivals thrashed out
a swap-deal worth an estimated £17 million.
Both players still need to agree terms
with their new clubs, but that seems certain to happen.
Milan managing-director Adriano Galliani
announced the deal after talks with Inter president Massimo Moratti.
"Everything is agreed between the clubs,"
confirmed Galliani. "Now we just have to agree terms with the players.
We will be contacting Clarence Seedorf and I am sure that Inter will do
the same with Coco."
The deal hit a stumbling block when Inter
demanded money as well as Coco for the sale of Seedorf, but the city rivals
eventually agreed that the players were of equal value.
Galliani was also quick to dismiss reports
that Seedorf's arrival could spell the end for Portugal playmaker Rui Costa,
who spent much of last season on the sidelines. "Rui Costa still figures
in our plans," he insisted.
Coco, who has spent the past season on
loan with Barcelona, is currently in South Korea with Italy's World Cup
squad and is unlikely to be allowed to discuss personal terms with Inter
until after the World Cup.
But after being told that his is no longer
wanted by Barcelona, the athletic Italian explained on Friday that a move
to Inter would suit him.
"Inter are the only other club in Italy
I could have joined. They have made it clear that they want to buy me and
I would very much like to play for Moratti's team," he said.
"I didn't want to return to AC Milan,"
he continued. "It wasn't Fatih Terim's fault, but things had gone badly
"I guess it was everybody's fault, but
it is all forgiven and forgotten.
"So this move is not me getting revenge.
My revenge was going to Barca and getting inot the national team.
"I know Inter have been looking for a left-back,
and that they still miss Roberto Carlos. But his ghost will not haunt me,"
Seedorf, meanwhile, has rediscovered the
sort of form that made him one of Europe's most coveted midfielders at
Inter this season. He admitted in March that his sudden resurgence had
even surprised himself.
"It's incredible what happened to me,"
he said. "Even Juve's Edgar Davids said to me after the game between us
that he couldn't believe what he saw. I have to thank all my team-mates,
who helped me during the past months which were really difficult."