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Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK

Lazio close door on Anelka signing

Nicolas Anelka: Not waving goodbye after all

Italian giants Lazio have said they will definitely not be signing Arsenal's want-away striker Nicolas Anelka.

Steve Wilson with the announcement from Arsenal's website
Vincenzo Morabito, the agent who has been working for the club in their negotiations with Arsenal, blamed the Gunners for the talks collapsing.

He said: "The negotiations are definitely closed. We wanted to bring Anelka to Rome but Arsenal's demands were crazy and unreasonable. "A 20-year-old with a year's experience rated at £23m is madness," he added.

[ image: Anelka could take legal action]
Anelka could take legal action
Anelka has failed to report back to Highbury for training - because he says that he is suffering from "stress".

Arsenal took the troubled player off the transfer list on Tuesday, apparently bringing to an end his protracted attempt to leave the club.

But Anelka, who sent a sicknote to the club from his home in Paris, has branded the Gunners' attempt to recall him "comical"

"I think they'll be waiting for me a long time. I'm fine. I'm calm," he said.

"Actually, this break from soccer will be good for me. I've recharged my batteries for this season which looks like being a long one."

Never-ending story

Anelka had threatened legal action if his desire to join Lazio was not met. It is unclear if he still intends to proceed with any action.

Steven Ashford from the Arsenal fanzine 'Gunners': "How will the other players react"
Anelka's latest move is unlikely to endear him to an already hostile British sporting press and increasingly disgruntled Gunners supporters.

Despite this, the London club has made clear its intention to hold on to Anelka, after he failed to agree personal terms with Lazio by the Tuesday deadline set the London club.

A statement on Arsenal's Internet site said: "It has always been Arsenal Football Club's wish to retain the services of Nicolas Anelka.

"He is an exceptional young talent and it remains our primary concern that the player respects his contract with the Club. "

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