- Premier League
English clubs told Belhanda is available
Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin has opened the door for Premier League target Younes Belhanda to leave the Ligue 1 champions this summer, but warned clubs off attempting to prise away Remy Cabella.
The club announced on Monday that Jean Fernandez, 58, would succeed Rene Girard as coach this summer, but the incoming boss is unlikely to be able to call upon Belhanda after the Morocco international - one of the chief architects of Montpellier's unexpected title win in 2012 - was given the green light to quit the Stade de la Mosson.
"The door is open for Younes to find a bigger club than ours," Nicollin told RMC.
That reinforced his comments on Canal+ on Sunday when he had said: "I don't know where yet but he wants to leave. It'll take €10-11 million though. He's a boy I love, but we gave him a big salary after winning the title. Next year, we can't do that as we don't have the Champions League."
Both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have been linked by the British press to the 23-year-old, who had reportedly agreed personal terms with Fenerbahce in January only for Nicollin to scuttle the deal over the Turkish club's request to pay the transfer fee in instalments.
Nicollin also revealed that left-back Henri Bedimo could leave too: "There's a deal with Henri. He can go if he gets a good offer, if not, he'll stay with us."
However, he will not sanction the departure of Cabella, 23, another Montpellier player being watched enviously.
"He'll be staying. We can't lose both Belhanda and Cabella at the same time. [Benjamin] Stambouli and Cabella are important players," Nicollin said in response to a L'Equipe report stating Lille see Cabella as a potential replacement for Dimitri Payet should he leave Les Dogues this summer.
"We want to keep the backbone of our team. Some players won't be kept, one or two will leave and two or three will come in, though 80% of the team will be the same as this season. We want to keep our best elements."