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Barcelona, Real Madrid close in on big signings



Madrid, July 3 (IANS) If the Spanish press is to be believed, both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are closing in on major signings which will be announced shortly after the end of the World Cup, if not before.

Barcelona's pursuit of Liverpool's Uruguay international, Luis Suarez is entering a new phase with both the British and Spanish press reporting the two clubs held a meeting in London Monday during which Barcelona made an offer of 70 million pounds ($120 million) for the controversial striker, reports Xinhua.

The news comes just a day after Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu in a press conference was asked repeatedly about Suarez, whose wife's family live close to Barcelona.

The Uruguayan has been forced to apologise for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup match between Uruguay and Italy, an action which has earned him a nine game international ban and a 4-month suspension from all football activity with the exception of a transfer.

"Luis Suarez is a Liverpool player, but I will say that he has admitted his mistake and that honours him," said Bartomeu, who added that a move for the player could be "a good option for his rehabilitation. We have to try and help him. I can't say more than that, he has to rehabilitate himself and carry on playing."

Suarez has appealed against the ban and Barca appear to be playing the card that a move will be a fresh start for a player whose image with Liverpool has been severely dented yet again after previous bans for racist insults towards Manchester United's Patrice Evra (which he strongly denies) and also for biting Chelsea defender, Branislav Ivanovic.

Meanwhile pro-Real Madrid sports daily, Diario Marca, ran the front page headline Thursday that the club has reached agreement with Bayern Munich to sign German international midfielder Tony Kroos for 25 million euros.

Kroos has one season left on his contract with Bayern, but his refusal to sign a new deal had alerted clubs all over Europe, including Manchester United. However, it now appears Real Madrid have won the race and the signing will be made official after the World Cup, or before if they should fail to beat France in their quarter-final clash. 

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