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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marinos admit Nakamura defeat

Kyodo News

Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura has turned down an offer from former club Yokohama F. Marinos in favor of a move to Spanish club Espanyol from Celtic, the J. League first-division club said Monday.

Yokohama club president Masaharu Saito confirmed the decision after holding talks with Nakamura's agent on Monday.

"Unfortunately he (Nakamura) has chosen to join Espanyol and not Marinos," said Saito.

The 30-year-old Nakamura, whose contract with Scottish giant Celtic expires at the end of this month, had initially rejected an offer from Espanyol and was on the brink of rejoining Yokohama, the club he left seven years ago to pursue a career in Europe.

But talks with Nakamura's side stalled due to what Saito recently described as "unforeseen problems."

Yokohama reportedly offered the left-footed deadball specialist a two-and-a-half-year deal with an annual wage of ¥150 million.

Nakamura had initially expressed his willingness to return to Yokohama, citing the rigors of traveling back and forth for international duty and saying he wanted to raise his children in Japan.

Spanish media last week reported that Nakamura had put pen to paper on an agreement with Espanyol that will pay the midfielder an annual wage of 1.2 million euro a year (around ¥164 million), with just image rights and other details left to be ironed out.

Nakamura moved to Scotland before the 2005-2006 season from Italian club Reggina and has since been pivotal in Celtic's largely successful campaigns in the domestic league and other competitions during his time at Parkhead.

Pranjic joins Bayern

MUNICH (AP) Croatia midfielder Danijel Pranjic has agreed to join Bayern Munich on a three-year contract from Dutch club Heerenveen.

Bayern and Heerenveen sealed the move Monday and agreed not to disclose the transfer fee, the German club said in a statement.

The 27-year-old Pranjic, who joined Heerenveen in 2005 from Dinamo Zagreb, scored 16 goals last season.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "Pranjic is a versatile player who was very high on the wish list of our new coach, Louis Van Gaal."

Pranjic will join several other new signings at Bayern next season, including Croatia teammate Ivica Olic and Germany striker Mario Gomez.

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