Real Betis have opened negotiations to sign Cologne defender Pedro Geromel, reports Diaro de Sevilla.
Director of football Vlada Stosic has made the acquisition of a centre-back his priority since Mario broke his collarbone in pre-season training at the club’s Nuevo Portil base near Huelva.
Geromel, 26, was signed from Vitoria Guimares for €2.5m in July 2008 but suffered relegation with the Bundesliga outfit last term and is reported to look favourably on a move to La Liga.
Cologne, on the other hand, have money problems and need €3m before the end of August to pay off outstanding debts, while the sale of the Brazilian would go some way to easing their financial troubles.
Despite being in administration themselves, Betis are understood to be willing to pay a transfer fee for the player which would include owning 100 per cent of Geromel’s rights.
Celta Vigo and Werder Bremen have also made enquiries but Jorg Jakobs, Cologne’s director of football, said no offers have so far been received.
“We are still waiting for someone to bid €4m for him. However, the interested clubs all want to take him without paying anything in return,” he admitted.