Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes is set to join French club Lyon ahead of Atletico Madrid, who were strongly linked to a deal.
Atletico Paranaense are the same club from which Atleti signed full-back Renan Lodi last summer and their interest in Guimaraes was said to have been long-standing, but he now looks set to move to Ligue 1 instead.
“Juninho was key in my decision to sign for Lyon. He was the difference. He told me he would be the best midfielder in the world if I signed for Lyon,” Guimaraes is cited as saying by Diario AS.
“I am very happy, because in Lyon I will be important. No one called me from Atletico.”
The report in AS adds that Guimaraes was very close to joining Atleti – who were extremely keen on his signature – but the deal fell through as he felt he would have greater opportunities in France.
“If I really go there (Atleti), I know it is a great club that plays Champions League,” Guimaraes was cited as saying by Marcain December.
“I rejected several proposals, the fans know it, the board knows it and all my staff knows it, in order to pursue the dream of going to European football.”
Rodrigo Gama, a lawyer for the Brazilian club, was reported to have travelled to Madrid to negotiate the terms with a deal expected for this winter.