Scottish Premier League

Celtic to make Berlin trip

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Mon, 29 Apr 2013 18:16:00

Anzhi Makhachkala have denied reports that they are set to sign Felipe Santana from Borussia Dortmund.

The wealthy Russian outfit have been linked with a huge number of players since the club became a major force in the financial stakes.

Recently the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Barcelona's Victor Valdes, Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony and former Chelsea youngster Michael Mancienne have all been linked with a move to Russia.

Dortmund defender Santana is another name to have been thrown into the mix, but Anzhi say that there is no truth in the stories.

A statement on their official website read: "Rumours on the internet that we are holding negotiations with several players including Felipe Santana have no grounds.

"FC Anzhi will inform the fans and the media of any transfers on our website."

The defender has not been offered fresh terms and will now leave the Ricoh Arena as boss Steven Pressley shapes his squad for an assault on promotion from League One next season in what will be his first full campaign at the helm.

Wood heads out of the exit door along with Jordan Stewart, Stephen Elliott, Nathan Cameron and Danny Philliskirk.

Pressley told the club's official website: "We need to refresh and re-invigorate the squad so tough decisions have to be made but I would personally like to thank all of the players for their efforts during my time here and I wish them the very best for the future."

Pressley also confirmed he has held talks with Southampton about the future of centre-half Aaron Martin, who has made 12 starts for the Sky Blues since joining on loan in late February.

Owain Fon Williams and Jason Mooney have been given the option of extended stays along with highly-rated wideman Zoumana Bakayogo and veterans Ian Goodison and Andy Robinson.

Goalkeepers Adam McGurk, David Amoo, Danny Harrison, Michael Kay and Paul Black will not be retained, with the latter set to turn out in a reserve match for former club Oldham on Monday evening.

Manager Ronnie Moore told his club's official website: "I've had some very difficult decisions to make as the squad has given me everything this season and they are a great bunch of lads.

"But I need to bring some new players in next season and to do that I have to let some leave. I thank all five for their time at the club and wish them the best of luck for the future.

"We have already signed five younger players (Max Power, Cole Stockton, Abdulai Bell-Baggie, Danny Holmes and Jake Kirby) to longer deals and James Wallace, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Ash Taylor and Joe Thompson are under contract and hopefully some of those we have offered contracts to will sign in the coming weeks.

"If Ian Goodison signs it will be his 10th season at the club which would be a fantastic achievement. He is a player who has never let me down and his experience is something you cannot buy.

"We have already identified the areas we want to strengthen and have a list of targets. We'll be working hard to bring in the players we need over the summer."

Proposals for a 12-12-18 system, with the top two leagues splitting into 8-8-8, the introduction of play-offs, revised financial distribution and the merging of the SPL and the Scottish Football League were rejected after Ross County and St Mirren voted against them two weeks ago.

However, the SPL clubs met again on Monday to discuss four different play-off options and will reconvene next Tuesday to study the proposals in more detail.

After the meeting, which lasted around three hours, Doncaster stressed that the most important factor for the SPL clubs to consider is cost versus benefit.

"It remains a possibility, no more than that," he said. "The clubs have expressed a keenness to get round the table again.

"It may be that nothing can be agreed but the clubs are keen to have that conversation.

"The clubs reluctantly agreed that given the time before now and the end of the season, it is not possible to achieve a full merger in time for the summer so it is looking unlikely that there will be any reconstruction involving a merger.

"But we looked at four different play-off models today.

"There was no formal proposal, it was discussion meeting to see if anything could be agreed.

"There is a view generally that play-offs could be a positive thing but it may suit some clubs more than others.

"The devil is always in the detail and whilst we all might like the idea of play-offs you need to know how they will work.

"The clubs need to understand all the facts and figures, exactly what the risk is and what additional money they would get as part of those play-offs. All of those remain work in progress.

"What you are asking clubs to do is to take on the additional risk of being relegated but without all of the financial benefits that would have been accompanied with that risk with the all-through distribution model and the merger.

"What you need to do is cost out what revenues are likely to be generated by one particular model and how you distribute those revenues.

"The clubs will be getting together next Tuesday but understanding there will be a note of caution because of the difficulties of taking one element of the proposals. It is complicated."

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson rushed away from the meeting and when asked if things had moved any further forward, he replied, "no."

However, David Southern, managing director at Hearts, appeared more positive when he left the national stadium.

He said: "It was a broadly positive meeting.

"The idea of league reconstruction will not be on the table but play-offs will.

"We are all still talking and all still moving in the right direction.

"There was no vote today, just discussions but play-offs are very much still on the table."

The match at the An der Alten Forsterei Stadium will take place on Friday, July 12.

The Scottish champions intend to use the game as part of their preparations for the Champions League qualifiers.

The Hoops will enter at the second qualifying round and will face their as-yet-unknown opponents in the first leg on either July 16 or 17.

Information on kick-off time and ticket details for the match against the Bundesliga2 side in the German capital have yet to be announced.

The Scottish Premier League announced last month that next season's top-flight campaign will start on Saturday, August 3.

Celtic have already informed league chiefs that they intend to exercise their right to postpone their SPL fixture over the weekend starting August 10 so they can take part in a friendly with another unnamed opponent.

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