Sevilla, Barça join Chelsea in chase for Palacio

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Barcelona and Sevilla are set to join Chelsea in the race for the signature of Boca Juniors forward Rodrigo Palacio, according to reports in the Argentine press.

Palacio's agent Roberto Depietri returned to Buenos Aires on Wednesday having traveled to Spain in order to try and assess the interest in his client and told the news agency Télam that both Barcelona and Sevilla are likely to enter the bidding should Boca decide to cash in on its most saleable asset come the summer.

Barcelona was heavily linked with Palacio last summer and was thought to be close to agreeing a deal until Thierry Henry became available. Instead, the club switched its efforts to capturing the Frenchman, but with Henry not living up to expectations, it could be set to rekindle its interest in Palacio.

Sevilla already has the thriving Fredi Kanoute-Luis Fabiano partnership up front, but either of them could yet leave in the summer. Regardless, the club is woefully short on options whenever one of its first-choice pairing is missing and could therefore have a space for Palacio in itssquad.

The 26-year-old forward has previously indicated that his "priority" is to "continue playing here, at [Boca]," but in the same interview he also admitted that "if an offer arrives and Boca wants to sell me then we will see," indicating that his "preference would be Spanish football," if a move did materalize.

Palacio's comments and the interest of the two Spanish sides looks set to end Chelsea's rumored interest in securing his signature. Although, with the financial clout offered by Roman Abramovich, Boca may be tempted to try and string the bidding war on a little further in order to raise a higher price when it does eventually let Palacio leave for Europe come the end of the season.