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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK

Ahn 'rejects Perugia return'

Ahn Jung-Hwan is refusing to return to Perugia, according to his agent.

The South Korea striker was sacked by the Serie A club after he scored the golden goal that knocked Italy out of the World Cup.

Perugia president Luciano Gaucci then had a change of heart and wanted to complete the permanent transfer of Ahn from K-League club Busan.

" Ahn Jung-Hwan does not want to go back to Perugia "
ePlayers chairman Ahn Jong-Kok

But the player's agent, ePlayers, has hit back and claimed Ahn was lining up a move to another European club.

"He will never play again for Perugia," said an ePlayers statement.

"We will never consider his transfer to Perugia, which mounted a character assassination against Ahn just because he scored against Italy."

The agent said Perugia had failed to keep to Fifa's rules on extending a contract and was also four months in arrears on Ahn's wages.

His annual salary at Perugia is about $400,000 (262,000).

"Ahn Jung-Hwan does not want to go back to Perugia and Perugia has no right to demand him back," said ePlayers chairman Ahn Jong-Kok.

"I sent a message to Perugia yesterday to state our position. The Korean people do not want Ahn to go back to Perugia."

Ahn's agent said that following talks with the Busan I.cons "we will go for a club which offers the best terms."

The agent added Premieship clubs Chelsea and West Ham, Spain's Atletico Madrid, Germany's SV Hamburg and Glasgow Rangers in Scotland were all interested in the striker.

Meanwhile, Perugia are believed to want Japan's Junichi Inamoto, who has been told he is surplus to requirements by English champions Arsenal.

The midfielder has already attracted interest from Premiership club Fulham, Dutch side Feyenoord and Atalanta of Italy.

Perugia, who signed Japan playmaker Hidetoshi Nakata after the 1998 World Cup, are the first club to have made a formal offer for Inamoto.

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