Lopez could face Sevilla

Espanyol coach Sergio Gonzalez has insisted that midfielder David Lopez could start Saturday's game with Sevilla, even though the player is reported to be on the verge of a transfer to Napoli.

Last Updated: 29/08/14 at 21:13

Lopez: Could be in Espanyol's side to face Sevilla

Lopez: Could be in Espanyol's side to face Sevilla

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Lopez completed 90 minutes in Espanyol's 1-1 draw at Almeria but since then has been the subject of negotiations between the Catalans and the Serie A outfit.

However, Napoli's reluctance to pay all of the money for the transfer up front has reportedly delayed the deal going through, and Gonzalez says he would have no qualms about playing the 24-year-old against Sevilla, as his side look to get their first win of the new Primera Division season.

"If he is fit and willing to play then he will go into the squad, and if we think it's the right decision, he'll start the game as well," said Gonzalez in a press conference, before emphasising Lopez's value to his side.

"From a defensive point of view, we have no other holding midfielder like him. But I'm not going to get bogged down in that. What I have to think about is Sevilla, Sevilla and Sevilla."

Gonzalez did not publicise his squad list the day before the game as usual and will release it on the morning of the game instead, but did reveal that Ecuador international Felipe Caicedo, who came off at half-time at Almeria, would not feature against Sevilla at all.

"He is not 100 percent fit," Gonzalez admitted.

"Against Almeria he couldn't get into the game properly, even though he thought he was fit. We've decided not to play him this weekend as a precaution and so that he can start from scratch, that's why he's not in the squad."

The coach also spoke of the importance of beating Sevilla to kick-start his side's season.

"Winning at home would give us a huge boost and we know that so we're going to run ourselves into the ground to achieve that."

Sevilla were denied a winning start to their season by a late Valencia equaliser in their first game, and will be without first-choice goalkeeper Beto, who injured his thigh during the game and is out for up to a month.

Midfielder Sebastian Cristoforo and striker Kevin Gameiro are also out, and Sevilla boss Unai Emery has admitted new signings Benoit Tremoulinas, Gerard Deulofeu and Ever Banega are not yet at peak fitness, meaning they are unlikely to start at the Power8 stadium.

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