Valencia coach Unai Emery has opened the door for the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to make their moves for stars David Villa and David Silva in the summer transfer window.
Emery left both starlets out of Valencia’s final match of the season against Tenerife, dropping the biggest hint yet that his two prize assets could be allowed to leave the Mestalla in the summer.
“We played a game to win and ended a season at home with a win. Today we had to discard certain players and play with people who were better prepared mentally and physically to play," he said.
“Any coach wants to have his future team set as soon as possible, but it is certain that some issues take time.
“We are resigned to the departure of important players, but while they’re here we will count on them. The summer will be long.”
The news will no doubt alert the attentions of Europe’s elite, including Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, all of whom have been linked with moves for one or both of the players at some point over the last year.
Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move for Silva for almost a year and could make their move for the winger after a hugely disappointing season in all competitions for Rafael Benitez's side.
The Reds would also be keen on a move for striker Villa with the well-documented fitness problems and questionable future of Fernando Torres, but a lack of Champions League football at Anfield next season would prove a particularly substantial obstacle to overcome.
Manchester United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be keen to bring in another star forward to support Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen, and may turn to Villa, whose 21 league goals helped Valencia to third place in La Liga this campaign.
While Carlo Ancelotti - having guided Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season at Stamford Bridge - is expected to open his chequebook during the close season, with Villa and Atletico Madrid forward Sergio Aguero believed to among the names on his wish-list.
But Villa has already pledged his future to the financially stricken club, insisting he will remain a Valencia player unless Los Che feel the need to sell.
"I still have a four-year deal with Valencia, my contract has a big release clause, I'm very happy at the club and I'm glad to be part of the project we're working on," the striker told Canal 9.
"I can't imagine that the club wants to sell me if it isn't absolutely necessary to save Valencia. I will only leave Valencia if the situation is there that selling me will save the club."
By Joe Brewincomments