linked with move for Eto’o
By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post
Rafael Benitez has again been linked with a summer move for controversial
Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o.
Television reports in Spain yesterday suggested the Liverpool manager is
lining up a swoop for the Cameroon international at the end of the season.
Premiership rivals Chelsea and Arsenal also said to be tracking the
25-year-old, who has been tipped to depart the Nou Camp after a series of
disagreements with Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard.
Benitez is a known admirer of Eto’o, who worked under the Spaniard when he
was in charge of the Real Madrid academy, and is poised to shake-up his
striking resources in the transfer window bolstered by backing from
Liverpool’s new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
The Liverpool manager attempted to sign Eto’o as part of the deal that took
Michael Owen to the Bernabeu in August 2004, only for the player to choose a
move to Barcelona instead.
Eto’o has recently been at the centre of controversy at the Nou Camp over
his return to fitness following four months out with a serious knee injury,
and missed Barcelona’s
2-1 Champions League defeat to Liverpool last week.
However, he started and scored in the 3-0 La Liga win over Athletic Bilbao
on Sunday, although he has been rested for Barcelona’s Copa del Rey meeting
with Real Zaragoza this evening.
Barca hold Alonso
By Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports
Reports emanating from the Spanish press continue to intimate that
Barcelona are eager to land Xabi Alonso in the close season.
Despite still sitting atop of La Liga, all is not thought to be well at the
reigning champions, with internal wrangling said to at the root of a problem
that has spread to a disenchanted dressing room.
With the previously untouchable Ronaldinho the subject of fierce criticism
and the futures of both manager Frank Rijkaard and star striker Samuel Eto'o
seemingly up in the air, it could be interesting pre-season that ensues.
It has been suggested that there could be big changes at the Catalan giants
in the summer and it is believed Alonso is a player the club want as the
heartbeat of their midfield.
Alonso has proved to be one the Premiership's more successful imports since
arriving at Anfield from Real Sociedad and almost certainly, Rafa Benitez
would be loath to sanction his departure.
His existing contract runs until June 2009 and it seems likely any bids from
Barca would be resisted, especially given the club's healthy financial
footing following the recent takeover.
Voronin set for Reds
By Tom Adams - Sky Sports
Bayern Leverkusen striker Andrei Voronin has reportedly clinched a deal
to join Liverpool in the summer.
The Ukrainian international is out of contract at the end of the season and
has reached a agreement that will see him join The Reds on a four-year
contract in June.
Voronin had been linked with a move to Celtic in December but will now join
Craig Bellamy, Peter Crouch, Robbie Fowler and Dirk Kuyt in Rafa Benitez's
plans at Anfield.
The 27-year-old has bagged six goals in 20 league appearances for the German
club this season and, following Bayer's 1-0 defeat to Hannover on Saturday,
it was announced that the striker will pursue a career in England come the
end of the season.
Voronin is keen to widen his experiences after spending a decade in Germany
since joining Borussia Dortmund as an 18-year-old from his native Ukraine.
"I have been in Germany for ten years now, that is a long time," said
Voronin in Kicker. "I want to see something else."
Voronin's prospective arrival could provoke fresh doubts over Fowler's
future at Anfield, as the Reds hero also sees his contract expire at the end
of the season.
Barca consider Alonso
By Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports
Reports in Spain suggest Barcelona could test Liverpool's resolve over
Xabi Alonso in the summer.
Barca are widely expected to tweak their midfield ranks over the summer and
are being linked with a host of big names.
Chelsea's Frank Lampard is a reported target, but Catalan sources claim
Alonso could become Barca's main priority.
The Spanish international is very well settled in England and is a big fans'
favourite at Anfield and only last month Alonso's agent suggested a new deal
could be in the pipeline.
There is also little doubting how much Rafa Benitez rates his midfield
anchorman, who along with Steven Gerrard makes Liverpool tick.
Barca's sporting director Txiki Beguiristain has refused to confirm any
reports on Alonso - but it is thought that the player is firmly on the
Catalan club's list of summer targets and an approach could be forthcoming
at the end of the season.
Another player that Barca are said to be compiling a dossier on is Ajax's
The young forward is one of the most feared in Holland and most of Europe's
elite clubs are well aware of his skills and now Barca have joined the
It is widely expected that Sneijder could leave the Amsterdam ArenA this
summer and he is likely to have his pick from a host of clubs.
to sign Tenerife teen Gonzalez
By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post
Rafael Benitez is ready to dip into the coffers of Liverpool’s new
American owners by adding to his Spanish contingent.
The Anfield manager has earmarked a £1.5million move for Tenerife midfielder
Iriome Gonzalez at the end of the season.
The 19-year-old right-sided midfielder has this year broken into the first
team of the Canary Island outfit, who play in the second division in Spain.
Iriome has appeared in only six games, and with regulations in Spain stating
an academy graduate cannot sign a contract until he has featured in 10
senior games, Tenerife will make sure the midfielder reaches that figure so
they can command a transfer fee at the end of the campaign.
Benitez has tracked Iriome during his progress through the youth ranks, and
is confident of capturing the highly-rated teenager ahead of a clutch of
other interested clubs.
Iriome’s arrival would be one of several during the summer with Benitez,
backed by Liverpool’s new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, expected to
be busy when the transfer window reopens in June.
will have cash to burn
By Paul Smith - Sunday Mirror
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez will be handed an astonishing £120 transfer
budget if the proposed American takeover goes through
US tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks are set to take control at Anfield.
Under formal proposals of a projected £480m takeover, additional funding
will be made available to Benitez to ensure Liverpool can match their
free-spending rivals in the transfer market and compete for honours.
Gillett, who owns National Hockey side Montreal Canadiens, and Hicks, who
owns NHL franchise Dallas Stars as well as the Texas Rangers baseball team,
will split the £700m costs, which include funding for a new stadium.
Liverpool's decision to accept the American offer in preference to doing a
deal with Dubai International Capital is widely thought to have come about
after Gillett and Hicks put a far more lucrative package together.
Shareholders including chairman David Moores will profit from the deal,
debts will be immediately addressed and proposals over a new stadium
But it's the activity in the transfer market that will be of primary
interest to fans and should delight Benitez, who has publicly voiced his
frustrations at buying within a limited budget compared with the clubs
Liverpool are supposed to be challenging.
Since Roman Abramovich arrived Chelsea have monopolised the top end of the
But while arch-rivals Manchester United have spent £28m on Rio Ferdinand and
£21m on Wayne Rooney, Liverpool's record signing remains the £14m invested
in recruiting Djibril Cisse from Auxerre 30 months ago.
Most of Benitez's buys have been in the £6m-£10m price range. And he admits
that some of them have been found wanting.
Both Gillett and Hicks have earned reputations for spending big to achieve
their goals and Benitez will now have a license and cash to target the key
players in European and world football.