• Kyodo

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Japan midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata has opened a rift with Parma boss Claudio Prandelli after criticizing the Serie A club’s tactics and saying he is unhappy playing in his present position.

The 26-year-old, who prefers a central midfield role, has played much of the season on the right of midfield.

After being dropped for only the second time this season for last Sunday’s 0-0 draw against struggling Atalanta in Serie A, Nakata slammed Parma’s selection policies on his own Web site Wednesday.

“Even if it means I am on the bench I would rather play in a central midfield position (than on the right). There’s no point in carrying on with the way things are at the moment,” Nakata said.

“I would be much more effective in the middle, it would be better for me and better for the team,” he said.

The English and Italian media have linked Nakata to a summer move to the Premier League and Wednesday’s edition of the Gazzetta Della Sport suggests league leader Arsenal is the likely destination.

Nakata moved to Parma in a $26 million deal in the summer of 2001.

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