May - 2008

3105: Real Madrid join race to sign Alonso
2905: Espanyol want £19m for Riera
2605: Chelsea to bid £50m for Torres
2105: Juventus must pay £16m for Alonso
2105: Juve step up Alonso bid
2105: Dossena deal for Reds?
2105: Veteran chasing by Cottagers
2105: Benitez lines up French goalkeeper
1805: Riera, Kranjcar, Bentley and
          Ramsey hunted...

1805: Villa closer to signing Scott Carson
1705: Liverpool look to swoop
          on Andreas Dossena

1705: Pennant shown door
          as Rafa's cash run begins

1505: Liverpool to swap Leto for Riera
1505: Liverpool set to snap up
          Malouda from Chelsea for £10m

1405: Stuttgart consider Voronin swoop
1305: Villarreal plan Crouch swoop
0605: Crouch to Pompey link grows
0605: Reds close in on
          deals for Barry and Taylor

0505: Juventus linked with Alonso









MAY 31
Real Madrid join
race to sign Alonso

By Chris Beesley - Daily Post

Juventus’ hopes of capturing Xabi Alonso are under threat with Real Madrid poised to enter the race to sign
the Liverpool midfielder.

The Spanish club have admitted defeat in their open pursuit of Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo after the European champions threatened to report them to Fifa over their conduct in trying to tempt the Portuguese winger to the Bernabeu.

With Ronaldo remaining at Old Trafford, Real are now looking at alternative high-profile captures to satisfy their supporters and Alonso, a regular Spanish international with 40 caps, fits the bill.

President Ramon Calderon said: “You can’t buy what the owner doesn’t want to sell. We have not interfered with Manchester United’s contract agreement with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“We’re sorry that Manchester United, a club with which we have an excellent relationship, is annoyed with us.

“I want to clear this up and assure them we are not going to influence any player to break a contractual relationship.

“We are not going to start a conflict. If a club doesn’t want to sell a player, why would we insist that they do sell him?”

Juventus remain keen to sign Alonso, but warned that it would take an offer in the region of £16m to prise the Spaniard away.

However, Alonso’s price tag would prove no such problem for big spenders Madrid who had been prepared to fork out a world record fee for Ronaldo.

The player, whose partner Nagore Aranburu gave birth to a son Jon in March, is also believed to be holding out for a return to Spain.

MAY 29
Espanyol want £19m for Riera

Matt Ladson - This is Anfield

Liverpool have had a £9.5m bid for Espanyol winger Albert Riera turned down by the Spanish side, according to reports.

And Espanyol president Daniel Libre has told Liverpool they must pay almost the same amount they paid for Fernando Torres last summer.

Torres was purchased from Atletico Madrid for £20m - contrary to other reports claiming the fee was higher - and Libre said “If a club wants to sign Riera then the price will be 24million euros (£19million), and that figure will not change.”

Riera has been linked with a move to Merseyside for several weeks now as Rafa Benitez looks to add width to the squad, particularly on the left side of midfield. The former Man City loanee enjoyed an impressive season in La Liga last year and recently expressed his desire to move to a bigger club, but Libre said “We are very disappointed with the quotes made by the player last week. If a player wants to leave then they should speak with the club, not the press.” (Maybe Riera has been taking lessons from Tom Hicks?)

£19million seems excessively high for a player who was loaned out only 2 years ago and it is highly unlikely Rafa Benitez would be willing to pay such a vastly inflated sum. It will now be interesting to see if Benitez moves his attention elsewhere, with Stewart Downing another supposed target for the same position, or places a new bid for Riera.

MAY 26
Chelsea to bid £50m for Torres


Chelsea are ready to offer Liverpool a staggering £50m for striker Fernando Torres.

The Mail on Sunday says Stamford Bridge owner Roman Abramovich is ready to smash the world transfer record to land the 24-year-old Spaniard.

Abramovich was prepared to pay that much for Thierry Henry when he first took over at Chelsea and he has given chief executive Peter Kenyon permission to offer the same amount for a brilliant marksman who scored 33 goals in his debut season at Anfield.

"There is a desire among certain people at Liverpool to sell at the right price," said an insider last night. "It's just a case of whether they have the nerve to incur the wrath of the Liverpool fans."

Disruption reigns at Anfield, with the ownership of the club as well as the future of manager Rafa Benitez and chief executive Rick Parry uncertain.

Tom Hicks says he is desperate to raise funds to take sole control and the sale of Torres only a year after he arrived from Atletico Madrid for £23m could be good business.

MAY 21
Juventus must pay
£16m for Alonso

Daily Mail

Liverpool placed a £16million price tag on Xabi Alonso yesterday after receiving an approach from Juventus for the Spain midfielder.

Juventus director Jean-Claude Blanc travelled to Merseyside on Tuesday and met manager Rafa Benitez and chief executive Rick Parry to discuss Alonso's availability.

Though talks ended without a bid being lodged, Liverpool indicated a deal could be struck but made it clear they believe Alonso's value has risen since they paid Real Sociedad £10.5m for him four years ago.

Juventus are considering other candidates to bolster their midfield but are expected to return with an offer that could signal the end of the popular 26-year old's Anfield reign and clear the way for a renewed attempt to prise Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

With Barry likely to cost at least £10m, and another £9m earmarked for Udinese left-back Andrea Dossena, Benitez needs to generate as much as he can to land his top transfer targets.

Tottenham and Juventus have been linked with Dossena, who has one full cap for Italy, but Liverpool appear to be in pole position for the 26-year old after opening negotiations recently with Udinese sporting director Pietro Leonardi.

The arrival of Dossena, soon after Philipp Degen's free transfer from Borussia Dortmund, would hasten the departure of John Arne Riise, as well as Steve Finnan, Jermaine Pennant, Harry Kewell and Peter Crouch.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson wants to take Finnan back to Craven Cottage but may have his work cut out persuading him to swap a Champions' League campaign for a likely struggle to stay in the Barclays Premier League.

Fulham are also scouring the market for a centre-half, defensive midfielder, left winger and striker to possibly replace Brian McBride and are thought to be pursuing Kewell as well as Finnan.

MAY 21
Juve step up Alonso bid

By Nadia Carminati - Sky Sports

Juventus are believed to have stepped up their interest in Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso by flying to England to hold talks over the transfer.

Reports emanating from Italy claim Juventus director general Jean-Claude Blanc has flown to Liverpool to discuss a deal for Alonso.

Juve have been linked with the classy Spaniard for some time, and now the Turin giants are ready to make an increased effort to lure him away from Anfield.

Alonso has suggested he was happy to stay at Liverpool, but he could be forced to rethink his position if Reds boss Rafa Benitez decides to listen to offers for the player.

It is believed the two clubs are in advanced talks about the move, but they have so far failed to agree a price with Liverpool holding out for £14million for the former Real Sociedad man.

However, Juventus are confident they can reach a compromise with Liverpool to see Alonso link up again with former Reds team-mate Mohammed Sissoko in Turin.

MAY 21
Dossena deal for Reds?

By Nadia Carminati - Sporting Life

Udinese defender Andrea Dossena is close to agreeing a move to Liverpool, according to reports in Italy.

Reds manager Rafa Benitez is on the look-out for a left-back to bolster his squad as it is expected John Arne Riise is set to leave Anfield this summer.

Tottenham are also chasing £9million-rated Dossena's signature and it is understood they had a bid rejected in the January transfer window.

However, it is rumoured that Udinese sporting director Pietro Leonardi recently flew to England to discuss a possible transfer with Liverpool.

The Reds, though, would face a battle to land 26-year-old Dossena as Serie A giants Juventus are also seeking close-season reinforcements.

Dossena, who has made one appearance for Italy, has played 63 games for Udinese since joining from Treviso in 2006 and he has scored two goals in that time.

MAY 21
Veteran chasing by Cottagers

Clubcall Sports

Fulham are understood to be eyeing a deal for former defender Steve Finnan following Liverpool's capture of Philipp Degen.

Finnan lost his regular right-back birth at Anfield this season, playing just five games since March, with Alvaro Arbeloa and Jamie Carragher also filling in on the right-hand side of the defence.

The 32-year-old now looks to have dropped further down the pecking order following the capture of Swiss international Degen, who will move to Anfield on July 1 when his contract expires at Borussia Dortmund.

It's understood the Reds would consider selling Finnan for around £2million, with Fulham boss Roy Hodgson keen to strengthen his backline with some experience in order to avoid another relegation battle next season.

MAY 21
Benitez lines up French goalkeeper

By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool are lining up a move for Bordeaux goalkeeper Ulrich Rame after Philipp Degen was confirmed as Rafael Benitez's first summer signing.

The Anfield manager has earmarked Rame as he prepares to reshuffle his options behind first-choice keeper Pepe Reina.

The 35-year-old Rame, a former France international with 12 caps, has been a regular for the past 11 years with Bordeaux and this season helped them to second place behind French champions Lyon to earn Champions League qualification.

Rame still has a year remaining on his contract, but Liverpool are prepared to offer a swap deal with Charles Itandje going the other way plus a small cash adjustment.

Itandje was a regular with Lens in the French league before arriving at Anfield last summer, but has failed to impress during his rare first-team opportunities.

The hugely experienced Rame was part of the French squads at Euro 2000 and the World Cup in 2002, and played twice against Liverpool in the Champions League in 2005-06.

A new goalkeeping arrival is anticipated at Anfield this summer given Scott Carson can leave for around £6million, with Benitez hopeful of taking advantage of Aston Villa’s interest in the England international to thrash out a deal to bring Gareth Barry to Anfield.

And 22-year-old David Martin, who recently signed a new contract at Liverpool, will be allowed to gain first-team experience by spending the season on loan at another club, with Coca-Cola Championship side Blackpool having already expressed an interest.

MAY 18
LFC rumour mill:
Riera, Kranjcar, Bentley and
Ramsey hunted, Crouch expected out

Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is planning an £8million swoop for Albert Riera, according to weekend reports.

The Spain press claim the 26-year-old Espanyol winger is seen as essential by Benitez for a title challenge next season.

He made fifteen appearances for Manchester City during a loan spell in 2006.


Liverpool are launching a bid for Portsmouth midfielder Niko Kranjcar, according to web rumours.

According to the gossip, Benitez is trying to tie Kranjcar into a deal that has already been agreed for Peter Crouch to move back to the South Coast side this summer from Anfield.

Pompey boss Harry Redknapp has fixed an £8m fee for Crouch, but Benitez now wants to offer his striker plus cash to lure the 23-year-old Croatian away from Fratton Park.

Kranjcar has been playing for Pompey on the left wing, but Benitez plans to switch him onto the right with Ryan Babel staying on the opposite side.


The battle for David Bentley continues for Liverpool, if you believe some of the more extreme gossips online.

The latest speculation is that Bentley has already turned down a new contract at Blackburn worth between £40,000 and £50,000 a week - he has three years on his existing deal.

Bentley would cost around £15m and is in demand this summer because clubs are eager to recruit young English players in case Fifa push through their quotas proposal that would insist on a certain ratio of homegrown players in every first XI, apparently.

Liverpool face competition from Chelsea and Tottenham for Bentley.


Today it has been reported that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to to offer £10million for Cardiff’s midfield prodigy Aaron Ramsey to beat off a late move by Liverpool.

The actual offer is £5m up front for the midfielder, but it has been revealed that additional performance-based payments could double that figure.

Ferguson is also willing to loan 17-year-old back to Cardiff for a season to please the FA Cup finalists, as they look to make a serious challenge for the Premier League next season.

With the increased offer, they have outbid other intersted clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Villa.


Premier League survivors Fulham have joined the race to sign Scott Carson, who is set to be one of three goalkeepers to leave Liverpool this summer.

Anfield manager Rafa Benitez will try to sign - and it's not the first time this has been claimed - Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor as back-up for Pepe Reina.

Reina's current deputy, Charles Itandje, has been told he will be allowed to find another club, while young prospect David Martin will go out on loan next season to gain experience.

MAY 18
Villa closer to signing Scott Carson

Daily Mirror

Scott Carson has edged a step closer to leaving Liverpool after Rafa Benitez agreed to drop his £10million asking price to around £6m - with Villa set to land him full-time.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill has already spent £1.75m on Carson as part of the loan arrangement that took him to Villa Park for the season.

Another man leaving Anfield is Harry Kewell, set to be Pompey manager Harry Redknapp's first signing since winning the FA Cup. Redknapp is lining up a £50,000-a-week deal for the Aussie international.

That could see Pompey star Niko Kranjcar move to Arsenal
for £10m.

MAY 17
Liverpool look to swoop
on Andreas Dossena

Liverpool Echo

Liverpool are ready to swoop for highly rated Italian international defender Andreas Dossena.

Rafa Benitez has identified the 26-year-old Udinese star as the man to fill his problem left back position and reports emanating from Italy suggest preliminary talks have already taken place between Reds officials and Dossena's advisers.

Dossena only recently signed a new four and a half year deal with Udinese but the Serie A club is believed to be ready to do business should anyone be prepared to meet their asking price for a player who is regarded as one of the most improved in Italian football in recent seasons.

That fee could be as high as £8m, particularly with several other European clubs being on Dossena's trail.

But with the out of favour John Arne Riise set to be sold during the summer the cash raised from his likely sale would help offset the cost of Dossena should Liverpool's pursuit of him prove fruitful.

Dossena made his debut for the Italian national team in November when Azzuri manager Roberto Donadoni awarded him his first cap in a friendly fixture against South Africa and he is in contention for a place in the Italy squad for Euro 2008.

Renowned for his ability to get forward into attacking positions, Dossena has featured at both left back and wing back for Udinese, who finished seventh in Serie A last season.

With Fabio Aurelio's ongoing injury problems and the promising Emiliano Insua still considered too young for regular first team football, Benitez is keen to bring in a new left sided defender at the earliest opportunity.

Dossena is his first choice to fill that role and the Reds boss will be looking to tie up a deal for the Italian as his summer squad rebuilding programme gets under way in earnest.

MAY 17
Pennant shown door
as Rafa's cash run begins

By Sam Wallace - Irish Independent

Jermaine Pennant was officially told by Rafael Benitez yesterday that he can leave Liverpool this summer as the club try to organise their resources to muster a serious bid for Blackburn winger David Bentley.

Pennant is a long-term target of Newcastle and Benitez is looking, at the very least, to recoup the £6.7m he spent on the player in 2006.

Pennant had been left to wait to learn his fate at Liverpool although his gradual marginalisation this season was a clear indicator that his time was up at Anfield. The 25-year-old was also one of three players offered as a potential makeweight in the £10m-rated deal to bring Gareth Barry to Liverpool.

Yesterday Benitez told Pennant, who has attracted the interest of West Ham, that he could leave if the club got a price they deemed acceptable.

The top target to replace Pennant is Bentley, who has already turned down a new deal at Blackburn worth between £40,000 and £50,000 a week -- he has three years on his existing deal. Bentley would cost Liverpool around £15m and is in demand this summer because clubs are eager to recruit young English players in case Fifa push through their quotas proposal that would insist on a certain ratio of homegrown players in every first XI.

For reasons that he has kept to himself, Benitez has insisted that the Liverpool players train from Wednesday to Friday this week although their season is over.

While every other Premier League club barring Manchester United, Chelsea and Portsmouth have sent their players on holiday for the summer, the Liverpool manager called his squad in this week. More pressing for Benitez, however, is finding the funds to refit his squad again this summer.

Bentley for Pennant may look like a natural swap but the Liverpool manager will encounter competition from Chelsea and Tottenham for Bentley, although the strength of their interest in the player is not yet clear. In the meantime, the Liverpool manager is trying to wring as much money as possible out of fees for his saleable assets in order to strengthen his squad.

MAY 15
Liverpool to swap Leto for Riera

By Fernando Montabon -

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is said to be eyeing up the possibility of bringing Espanyol's Albert Riera to Anfield this summer.

DiarioSport reports that the Reds are after sealing a swap deal for Espanyol's tall winger.

Benitez is considering the possibility of a cash-plus-loan deal, where they would pay up front for the 26-year-old and also loan promising youngster Sebastian Leto out to los Periquitos so he may gain some vital experience, as well as buying time to clear up alleged passport problems.

Leto had been linked with a loan move to Argentine giants River Plate, only for Benitez to opt out of the move, and Spanish side Racing Santander also expressed interest in the player, but soon gave up their pursuit.

This new deal would be a win-win move for Liverpool, and with Riera reportedly keen on a move to England, it could materialise sooner rather than later.

Tottenham Hotspur had been linked with the player earlier in the season, who of course enjoyed a fairly unsuccessful loan spell at Manchester City in 2006.

MAY 15
Liverpool set to snap up
Malouda from Chelsea for £10m

Daily Mail

Liverpool have made a shock move to sign Chelsea winger Florent Malouda for around £10million.

Preliminary talks with Malouda's people have been positive enough to convince Kop boss Rafa Benitez the player will leave.

The France international almost joined the Reds last summer before Chelsea outbid them and offered £60,000 a week wages.

But reports in The Sun suggest Benitez plans to move Ryan Babel to a more natural position on the right or behind Fernando Torres to free up the left attacking-midfield slot.

But the move is very much dependent on a takeover by DIC.

MAY 14
Stuttgart consider Voronin swoop

By Adam Marshall - Sky Sports

Stuttgart are believed to be exploring the possibility of bringing Andriy Voronin back to the Bundesliga if they lose top scorer Mario Gomez during the close season.

Gomez has reportedly emerged as a target for the likes of Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea after a tremendous season for the Schwabians.

Sources in Germany claim Stuttgart sports director Jochen Schneider has already made an enquiry to Voronin's agent and much will depend on whether Rafa Benitez wants to release last summer's Bosman free signing from Bayer Leverkusen.

A loan deal could be a possibility for the 29-year-old, who has struggled to win over the Anfield fans despite scoring in the final game of the season at Tottenham.

Benitez is certain to embark on another attempt to overhaul his squad and the Ukraine forward is one of a number of players whose position is under serious threat.

MAY 13
Villarreal plan Crouch swoop

Villarreal will attempt to pris Peter Crouch away from Liverpool if their bid to sign Valladolid's Joseba LLorente breaks down, but will be looking to lower the Reds'
asking price.

The Yellow Submarine are planning to add three or four new faces to their squad and a striker is one of the key areas where the club want to bolster their options.

Llorente has been a long-term target for coach Manuel Pellegrini, but if Valladolid remain in the Spanish top flight then they will want to retain the 28-year-old's services for another season.

If that happens, or if la Pucela raise his asking price beyond Villarreal's means, then they will turn to Anfield and make an approach to Rafa Benítez for Crouch.

While the Red's manager has placed a €20m asking price on the former Tottenham, QPR, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Southampton striker's head, that may go down for a foreign side.

With Giuseppe Rossi and Nihat Kahveci giving the squad the short and speedy option, Pellegrini is set to off-load either Guille Franco or Jon Dahl Tomasson and wants a replacement.

Also on the agenda at El Madrigal is Barcelona's Edmílson, who is believed to have undergone a medical, and Portsmouth's England defender Sol Campball, who has had Villarreal recommended to him by Robert Pirès.

Crouch to Pompey link grows

Football UK

Portsmouth are expected to land Liverpool striker Peter Crouch and Southampton's highly-rated winger Nathan Dyer this summer.

Pompey boss Harry Redknapp is believed to be willing to pay £8million for England international Crouch who has been only an irregular member of Liverpool's starting line-up this season.

Dyer is out of contract in the summer and is on Redknapp's shopping list even though he has spent much of the second half of the season on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage five months ago.

Reds close in on
deals for Barry and Taylor

By Sam Wallace - Irish Independent

Liverpool are winning the battle to sign Gareth Barry, with the player himself having already decided to sign for Rafael Benitez's club this summer rather than agree a new contract at Aston Villa.

Benitez is also close to signing Birmingham City goal-keeper Maik Taylor as a back-up to Jose Reina for next season, while Borussia Dortmund full-back Philip Degen will move to Anfield on a free transfer.

Liverpool and Villa are still at loggerheads over a fee for the England midfielder, but Barry's wishes will almost certainly force Villa into doing a deal. Liverpool's offer for Barry has been valued at £10m although it is not an exclusively cash deal.

In exchange for Barry, Liverpool are offering a choice of John Arne Riise, Jermaine Pennant or Scott Carson, who is currently on loan at Villa, plus an unspecified cash deal to make the value up to £10m.

Unfortunately from Villa's perspective, the Liverpool player they would really like, Peter Crouch, is not among the players on offer to them.

Barry has two years left of his contract at Villa and would become the club's highest earner should he accept the deal on offer to him.

However, Barry has decided after 11 years at Villa that a move to Anfield would be in his best interests even though he is likely to be asked to fulfil a role on the left side of midfield rather than in the centre -- where he has established himself for England.

Taylor (36) has been at Birmingham since 2003, having originally joined them on loan from Fulham. He lost his place to Ireland's Colin Doyle in last season's promotion-winning team but won it back this season and has been a regular since then.

Currently, Benitez only has the relatively untried Charles Itandje as a back-up for Reina.

The signings of Barry, Taylor and Degen may not quicken the pulse of Liverpool fans but they do demonstrate their manager's intentions to do deals quickly and make changes over the summer.

Whether Benitez will be able to lay out on a player comparable to Fernando Torres will surely depend upon the ownership battle raging between George Gillett and Tom Hicks and Dubai International Capital (DIC) who want to buy the Americans' shares.

Juventus linked with Alonso

Premiership Latest

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso is on his way to Italy and Juventus have been mentioned as the likely destination, according to Corriere Dello Sport.

The Spanish international has had a poor season at Anfield during which he spent a lot of time out of action due to metatarsal problem and on his comeback failed to deliver the goods.

Moreover with the Reds boss Rafa Benitez linked with a move for Aston Villa skipper Gareth Barry, the future of the 26-year-old former Real Sociedad player has come under a cloud.

On the other hand, Juve are keen to sign a midfielder in the summer and have been linked with Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini and now Alonso.

Thor Zakariassen ©