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Mercato Madness: Goran Pandev draws worldwide interest, but wants Italy stay

Napoli's almost-erstwhile Macedonian striker has drawn offers from England, Greece, and the Middle East, but it sounds as though he'd prefer to stay in Italy, even if he does have to leave Napoli.

Claudio Villa

Much like the now-departed Valon Behrami, it's been obvious since the spring that Goran Pandev is going to be sold this summer. The question is where, and who would want a striker who's been in mediocre form at the best of times for the past two years?

Earlier in the summer, we heard regular rumors that England's Tottenham Hotspur were interested in Pandev, as well as in Behrami. Obviously not much has gone of that interest (Valon being in Germany and all), but it has been reported elsewhere that Tottenham has maintained that interest.

Now comes a report from Gianluca Di Marzio that Pandev has received - and rejected - offers from both Olympiakos in Greece and Al Jazeera in the UAE. According to Sky's favorite rumor mongerer, Al Jazeera were rejected because Pandev wanted to stay in an actual competitive league, not a money-and-fame-but-mostly-the-money league. Fair enough. Olympiakos, on the other hand, were rejected because Pandev didn't "believe in their project." I guess that means he wants to do more than just win a Greek title and flail out of the Champions League? That probably doesn't bode well for PAOK's reported interest, then.

Di Marzio does name one club that Pandev wants to go to if given the chance: Fiorentina. That makes sense; Fiorentina are in the Europa league this season and want to push for a Champions League spot as well. After the injuries that cost Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez so much time last season, Fiorentina will be looking for an experienced striker who can serve as a reserve and start when need be.

Di Marzio does note that Fiorentina have yet to make an official approach, but the fit makes sense if nothing else. It might be a little tough for them to afford him unless Juan Cuadrado really does get sold to Barcelona as rumored, but if they can scrape together the cash it shouldn't be shocking if an approach is made.

Hopefully they didn't watch his performance against PAOK, though. They'll be looking elsewhere if they did.