sport

Otamendi set to join Valencia

FC Porto have confirmed that defender Nicolas Otamendi will join Valencia in the summer for a reported 12 million euros.

The 25-year-old looked set for an exit during the January transfer window with Manchester United, Monaco and Zenit St Petersburg all believed to have shown interest, but it has been suggested that problems with his passport prevented him from a departure.

Otamendi, who joined Porto from Argentinian outfit Velez Sarsfield in 2010, was left out of the squad for his side's 1-0 defeat to Maritimo as he was expected to be heading elsewhere.

However, a deal could not be done in time and the Argentina international will remain in Portugal until the summer when he moves to the Mestalla in a deal which could rise to 15 million euros.

Otamendi has enjoyed league success in all three of his seasons in Portugal so far but he is now set to link up with fellow countryman Juan Antonio Pizzi in La Liga and spoke of his delight at the move.

"After playing for a club like Porto - a huge, prestigious club - it is an honour to join a club like Valencia CF for this next stage of my career," he told Valencia's official website.

"Valencia CF are one of the most historic and attractive teams in Spain and in Europe, and I am very happy with this next step in my footballing life.

"I know that Argentinian players have been an important part of Valencia CF's history. To wear the same shirt as Mario Kempes, Roberto Ayala, Pablo Aimar and many more is a responsibility that I will take on with much joy and excitement."

While Valencia's general sporting manager Francisco Rufete also expressed his joy at completing the deal, believing it to be a major coup for the Spanish giants.

"We have a great squad and we are convinced that Nico Otamendi will help us to improve from next season onwards, because he is a world-class talent," he said.

"He is a strategic incorporation for our project and we are fortunate that he has chosen Valencia CF out of the many clubs vying for his signature.

"The arrival of Otamendi is great news for all Valencianistas and for the future of our side."