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Emerson off to Roma as Leverkusen land Marquinho
May 30th 2000

By Roy Fairbairn

GERMANY Bayer Leverkusen have signed 19-year-old Brazilian midfielder Marquinho from Sao Paulo. The transfer almost certainly signals the go-ahead for the disputed move to Roma of fellow Brazilian Emerson.

The 23-year-old Brazilian has already agreed a five-year contract with Roma worth $100million.

Until now Bayer Leverkusen had refused to let Emerson go, claiming a two-year option on his contract worth an estimated $25million in current market terms. Roma have disputed Leverkusen's claim on the player and Emerson has always insisted he will be playing for them in Serie A next season.

The signing of a Brazilian talented enough to replace Emerson has been the aim of coach Christoph Daum. He has made periodic trips to Brazil in the last seven months to watch Marquinho and arrange his move to the Bundesliga.

Marquinho's transfer was reported to have cost $4million but Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voller says that is "far too high. About half that sum would be more realistic."

Leverkusen are also reported interested in signing a second young Brazilian before next season.
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