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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Portuguese stars in shop window
Joao Pinto
Pinto hunting high and low for an employer
Transfer mania has gripped the Portuguese media after the remarkable comeback of the national side in the victory over England.

Some of the Portugal players are now the subject of extensive speculation concerning potential moves to some of Europe's biggest clubs.

"It's raining proposals," headlined the Lisbon sports daily A Bola, with reports that headhunters were out in force to snap up the jobless Joao Pinto and lure Luis Figo away from Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina were trying desperately to hang on to midfielder Rui Costa.

News reports have linked Costa to AC Milan and Bayern Munich, but Fiorentina president Vittorio Cecchi Gori, the president of the Florentine club, warned this week that they would not let him go until his contract expires in three years time.

It's raining proposals

A Bola, Lisbon sports daily newspaper

Fiorentina's new coach Fatih Terim met with Costa in the Portuguese team hotel earlier this week, but it also reported his watchful eyes were upon Joao Pinto.

The striker, who capped a fine performance with a spectacular diving header against England, was fired by Benfica at the start of the month after falling out with coach Jupp Heynckes.

Pinto declared he was unemployed at the time but if the rumours are to be believed, and judging by his current form, he should not have to wait too long before he acquires a new employer.

Lisbon sports paper, O Jogo, reported England's Newcastle United had discussed offering Pinto a three-year contract worth about £3.5m.

In the chase

FC Porto, one of Portuguese's biggest clubs are also reported to be in the chase, along with Chelsea, Monaco and Valencia.

However, the star man of the show against England, Figo, is reported to being close to signing for Italian champions Lazio.

The player has been with Barcelona for five years but he is allegedly demanding higher wages.

The Lisbon daily newspaper reported that Lazio coach Sven Goran Eriksson is ready to pay the Nou Camp outfit a world-record £45m to gain the services of the man who many rate as Europe's top player.

Manchester United and AC Milan are also reported to have expressed interest in Figo, but it would appear they have missed out.

Meanwhile, Barcelona is reportedly asking FC Porto the equivalent of £5m for captain Vitor Baia.

The keeper has been on loan to FC Porto for two seasons, and the Portuguese club is hoping to regain him on a permanent basis.

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See also:

09 Jun 00 | Portugal
Portuguese stars stay focused
04 Jun 00 | Portugal
Man Utd miss out on Figo
14 May 00 | Squad
Joćo Pinto
14 May 00 | Squad
Luis Figo
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