Movistar confirm interest in signing Team Sky's Mikel Landa

Manager Eusebio Unzué tells El País actual bargaining not possible until August

A report in El País has claimed that Movistar, Spain's only WorldTour team, has confirmed their interest in signing Mikel Landa for 2018. Bahrain-Merida and Team Sky are apparently Landa's other two possible choices for next season.

"Of course, I would like Landa to wear our colours, and I'd sign him right now," Unzué told the Spanish newspaper. "But it's complicated. Furthermore, no team has the right to bargain for a rider until August 1, so I'm not going to say anything."

Unzué's team already has two Grand Tour leaders, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. Yet their interest in the 27-year-old Basque goes back a long way.

According to El País, Landa has already turned down UAE Team Emirates and BMC Racing Team, and a return to Astana has been ruled out. "If it was just for money, there'd be no problem, but he is interested in other things, such as being guaranteed the leader's position in one of the three Grand Tours," Landa's representative, Jesus Ezkurdía, told the paper.

Movistar apparently already tried to sign Landa at the end of 2013, when Euskaltel-Euskadi folded, and he joined Astana instead. In 2015, when Landa signed for Team Sky, he apparently once again refused to join Movistar because the Spanish team already had two leaders. Although that remains the case, and although Valverde has been in stunning form in 2017, the man from Murcia is 37 and two years closer to retirement. An opening for Landa would, theoretically, be possible sooner rather than later.

As reported by Cyclingnews on Tuesday, both Team Sky and Movistar are set to be two of the leading teams in the transfer market this season, with over half the entire roster of the Sky squad out of contract.

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