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
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.
Espanyol want £19m
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.
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.
£16m for Alonso
Liverpool placed a £16million price tag on Xabi Alonso
yesterday after receiving an approach from Juventus for the Spain
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
closer to signing Scott Carson
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
Liverpool look to swoop
on Andreas Dossena
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 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.
Pennant shown door
as Rafa's cash run
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
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
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.
swap Leto for Riera
By Fernando Montabon - Goal.com
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
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
set to snap up
Malouda from Chelsea for £10m
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
But the move is very much dependent on a takeover by DIC.
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
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
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
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'
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
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
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
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
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