May - 2010

3105: Spurs linked as Liverpool not
          ready to shut door on Torres sale

3105: Liverpool to demand £10m for Benayoun
2805: Real Madrid to make opening
          £30m bid for Gerrard

2705: Report: Barcelona keen on Mascherano
2605: Liverpool to offer Riera in bid
          for Villarreal striker Rossi

2405: Report: Benitez considering
          Riera for Zigic swap

2405: The Monday May 24 transfer gossip
2105: Man City leave Liverpool ace
         Torres to Chelsea, Barcelona

2105: Italian media: Juve to make
          improved bid for midfielder

2105: Liverpool eyeing
         Tottenham reject Ziegler

2105: Rafa targets West Ham pair
1905: Benitez eyes Trotters defender
1805: Chelsea target Benayoun as
          possible Cole replacement

1805: Inter Milan target Benitez
1805: Barcelona to battle Chelsea for Torres
1705: Reports: Benitez ready to sell Benayoun
1605: Mega swap on for Reds duo
1505: Rosell wants Torres top of
          Barcelona shopping list

1305: Reports: Benitez to bid for
          Spurs striker Pavlyuchenko

1305: Reports: Inter Milan president
          to buy Gerrard for Mourinho
0905: Benitez set to reject Juventus
0905: Wilson poised to make Liverpool move
0705: Roma coach Ranieri targets Liverpool midfielder
0705: Real Madrid set to swoop
          for ‘uncertain’ Gerrard

0505: Reports: Chelsea bid £70m for Torres
0205: Rafa Benitez is on the verge of ending
          his six-year reign at Liverpool

0105: Angry Rafa Benitez claims Liverpool
          broke promises on new players

0105: Benitez edging closer to exit door





MAY 31
Spurs linked as Liverpool not
ready to shut door on Torres sale

Liverpool are open to cashing in on star striker Fernando Torres, it has been revealed.

Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson, a Reds fan, revealed to the Mail on Sunday's Live magazine that Tottenham could be a better place for Torres than Anfield.

Revealing a recent conversation with Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton, Jackson hardly got the feeling that Torres was untouchable as the club have been at pains to point out.

"I saw Martin Broughton at Chelsea's Player of the Year dinner, and he refused to tell me we weren't going to sell Torres", said the 30-year-old.

"He said: 'We'll let him go to the World Cup. At the moment he's still on board, but it's going to take three years to turn the club around, and at his age...' If it's going to take three years to turn the club around, that's going to coincide with the peak of his career, and he'll want to be playing in Europe. So he should probably go and join Tottenham."

MAY 31
Liverpool to demand
£10m for Benayoun

By Wayne Veysey -

Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun plans to leave Anfield if Rafael Benitez is still the manager next season, UK can reveal.

Premier League rivals Chelsea have been strongly linked with a move for the 30-year-old in recent days, with a formal bid reportedly having been made, however Benayoun's hopes of departing could be set back by the £10 million tag that Liverpool have placed on the Israeli.

The Liverpool hierarchy are reluctant to sanction a sale until Benitez’s own future is resolved.

Should the club feel it is time to cash in on a player who turned 30 earlier this month they will ask for £10m, double the £5m fee they paid to West Ham three years ago. However, with Benayoun desperate to depart, they may settle for around £7m rather than keep an unhappy player.

The midfielder has long had a fraught relationship with Benitez, which reached breaking point towards the end of Liverpool’s dismal campaign.

Benayoun was frustrated that he could not establish himself as an automatic first choice, or complete a full 90 minutes, and felt that he was singled out for unfair treatment by his manager.

A source close to Benayoun said: “Yossi loves Liverpool and wants to stay but he feels that Rafa does not really trust him.

“Whenever Rafa looks to make a substitution or rotate the team, Yossi always seems to be the fall guy, even when he is playing really well. He believes he would be better off playing under a manager who really believes in him.

“None of the [Liverpool] players really know if Rafa will be manager next season but Yossi says that if Rafa stays, then he will go. He feels he would get more chances at another team.”

Tottenham Hotspur, AS Roma, Aston Villa and Sevilla, as well as former club West Ham United, have also been linked with moves for Benayoun, whose contract was extended until 2013 last summer after he finished the 2008-09 season with a flourish.

Although his form faded after an excellent start to a season in which Liverpool eventually lost 19 matches, the player was still one of the team’s more consistent creative players and his contribution of nine goals from 42 matches was impressive given the stop-start nature of his campaign.

MAY 28
Real Madrid to make opening
£30m bid for Gerrard

Jose Mourinho will test Steven Gerrard's resolve with a £30 million Real Madrid bid for the Liverpool captain.

The Mirror says Mourinho had still to be officially confirmed as Real Madrid's new coach when he admitted he wants to make Gerrard a Galactico.

The former Chelsea boss would also like to be reunited with Frank Lampard at the Bernabeu - but Gerrard is the one most vulnerable to his advances.

Mourinho effectively tapped Gerrard and Lampard up when asked about them as he said: "They are players that you buy which you cannot recoup money for, but if you get two or three years out of them it is worth it.

"They are two great players and they always give everything.

"I like players at the end of their careers. I love to have some players around 33 or 34 years old."

The timing of Mourinho's bid for Gerrard could hardly be worse for Liverpool and their weary fans as the civil war at Anfield intensified this week.

The England star, who has three years left on his £130,000-a-week Reds contract, could well be the most high-profile casualty of the vicious in-fighting and he is understood to be unsure where his future lies.

Gerrard turns 30 on Sunday and, after rejecting Mourinho's advances in 2004 and 2005, he knows this is his last chance of a big move away from Liverpool.

MAY 27
Report: Barcelona
keen on Mascherano

According to a report in El Mundo Deportivo, reigning Spanish champions Barcelona have re-ignited their interest in Argentinian international Javier Mascherano, currently under contract with Liverpool.

The Blaugrana were desperate to sign Mascherano in the summer of 2009, but the transfer eventually fell through after Barcelona failed to reach an agreement with Liverpool.

The Liga champions are in the market for a new holding midfielder due to the ongoing uncertainty about the future of Yaya Toure, who is continually being linked with a move to the Premier League, and Barca supposedly see Mascherano as the perfect replacement.

Mascherano's current Liverpool deal runs until the summer of 2012, but the Reds could be tempted to cash in on the 25-year-old in the upcoming summer transfer window if a good offer comes in.

The holding midfielder has stated in the past that he'd be interested in joining Barcelona and Liverpool's failure to qualify for Champions League football could very well have increased Mascherano's desire to leave the Premier League side this summer.

MAY 26
Liverpool to offer Riera in bid
for Villarreal striker Rossi

Liverpool are ready to set up a swap deal for Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi.

Rossi's agent confirmed interest from Liverpool last week in the former Manchester United forward.

The Italian has declared he intends to leave Villarreal this summer and Reds boss Rafa Benitez is keen to set up a swap involving outspoken winger Albert Riera.

Villarreal are keen on the deal, with Riera viewed as an ideal replacement for departing French veteran Robert Pires.

MAY 24
Report: Benitez considering
Riera for Zigic swap

Valencia striker Nikola Zigic is interested in a move to the Premier League and has garnered the interest of a number of English clubs including Liverpool.

Reds manager Rafa Benitez is keen to make an offer to los Che that could kill two birds with one stone. He is pondering a swap deal that would send out of sorts winger Albert Riera to Spain in return for los Che's towering striker, according to AS.

If such a deal were to materialise, Liverpool would be obligated to pay an additional €3-4 million in addition to Riera.

Other teams have their sights set on Zigic as well, which could play a role in the proceedings should Liverpool drag their feet. Aston Villa and Birmingham are two possible suitors for the towering Serbian as well.

MAY 24
The Monday May 24 transfer gossip

Football 365

There's a glorious simplicity to The Sun's back-page headline this morning:

Jose Mourinho's arrival at Real Madrid (we're now officially referring to it as a done deal) is causing plenty of sleepless nights, particularly at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, with the Special One expected to raid England's finest for their finest stars.

'Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are in his sights, along with Liverpool stars Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres,' declares the newspaper.

'And Liverpool will be quaking. The Special One twice tried to sign Kop skipper Gerrard when he was at Chelsea, although luring Torres back to Spain might prove difficult as he remains such a hero at Real's rivals Atletico.'

And that's not all.

'Mourinho is a huge admirer of Manchester United hitman Wayne Rooney, while Arsenal striker Robin van Persie and Manchester City forward Emmanuel Adebayor are also potential targets.

'Diego Milito, Inter's two-goal Champions League final hero against Bayern Munich, could follow Mourinho to Madrid, along with play-maker Wesley Sneijder and keeper Julio Cesar.'

The Mail keeps Mourinho's interest specific to one player. And rather surprisingly, it isn't Frank Lampard.

'Jose Mourinho is ready to test Ashley Cole's commitment to Chelsea by offering England's left back the chance to join his Real Madrid revolution,' the newspaper announces.

'His top transfer targets will be Cole, valued at around £25million, and Inter right back Maicon. Cole is understood to be aware of Mourinho's plan.'

The Times, on the other hand, says that Gerrard is Mourinho's leading man.

To cut to the quick:

'In addition to asking for wages of £10 million a year, Mourinho will present Pérez with a list of transfer targets, including Steven Gerrard. The Portuguese came close to signing the Liverpool captain on two occasions at Chelsea and believes that the midfield player may finally be ready to leave Anfield as a result of his perceived disillusionment with Rafael Benítez, the manager, and the club's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.

'Gerrard said yesterday that he will not make a decision on his future until after the World Cup, so the stand-off is likely to develop into one of the sagas of the summer.'

A second 'something different' from the Mail:

'Chelsea are weighing up a double move for Liverpool's Javier Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun.

'The Double winners realise Liverpool are vulnerable to offers and have earmarked the duo to reinforce their ageing squad with Michael Ballack and Joe Cole expected to leave.'

And Benayoun is even quoted as saying: "Ancelotti wants me for next season and now everything depends on Liverpool. Chelsea will have to pay some £6m but I believe that in the end I'll be moving there."

Speaking of Everton, The Daily Mail reports that they could have a tougher time keeping hold of one of their other top dogs.

Apparently Steven Pienaar has 'alerted Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United to the fact he has rejected the Goodison club's latest contract offer'.

And here are some quotes from the Saffer himself - whose contract runs out next summer - on the deal:

"Yes, I'd say the spirit of discussions was very good, but we have differing valuations, so my future isn't clear. I don't know.

"Everton may keep me for the last year of my deal. But they could sell me too. If they decide to sell, and the move is correct for my career, then I'll consider it. Hopefully this hasn't been my last season at Goodison. But in football, who knows?"

Here's one that will blow your bollocks off if it happens.

The Daily Mail reports that Hamburg are all set to offer Kevin Keegan their manager's gig.

We know.

The paper claims: 'Hamburg now want to give him the freedom to create a side capable of challenging Bayern Munich for the title and qualify for Europe.

'They are ready to bankroll rebuilding with a transfer budget of around £25m and will offer players decent contracts, as they demonstrated last season with their capture of Ruud van Nistelrooy.'

MAY 21
Man City leave Liverpool ace
Torres to Chelsea, Barcelona

Manchester City are ready to shelve their pursuit of Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

The Guardian says City are increasingly coming round to the sense that their failure to qualify for the Champions League has ended any hope of persuading Torres to leave Anfield.

Chelsea and Barcelona have also been linked with £70 million bids for Torres since the end of the season.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez insisted yesterday he expected Torres to remain with the club.

MAY 21
Italian media: Juve to make
improved bid for midfielder

By Ben Moss -

According to reports in Italy, Juventus will make another approach to sign Liverpool FC midfielder Alberto Aquilani having initially been rebuffed in their efforts by a reluctant Rafa Benitez.

Yesterday reports from Italy suggested Juve’s new coach Luigi De Nieri had placed Arsenal FC winger Theo Walcott at the top of his shortlist but today it appears they have earmarked another Premier League player.

Corriere dello Sport claim Juventus’ initial bid for the Liverpool FC midfielder was rejected, but such is their eagerness to sign the player who has underwhelmed at Anfield this season, they will return with a new bid to entice Benitez into offloading the former Roma star.

De Nieri’s appointment has seen the club linked with a host of top players around the continent, most notably Arsenal FC’s Theo Walcott and Palermo’s Simon Kjaer, but Aquilani is believed to feature prominently in the club’s plans for the future.

The Italian newspaper claims Liverpool FC rejected an £11 million offer from Juventus, with the Premier League side eager to recoup as much of the £20 million they paid Roma in the summer.

Despite Rafa Benitez insisting the player is not for sale, the report suggests he would part with the 25-year-old for £15 million.

Whereas the Anfield supremo could be convinced into selling the player, Juventus’ alleged interest in the aforementioned Arsenal FC winger is likely to be given short shrift.

MAY 21
Liverpool eyeing
Tottenham reject Ziegler

Liverpool are eyeing Sampdoria midfielder Reto Ziegler.

The Daily Mail says Ziegler, a former Tottenham player, has been earmarked to fill Rafa Benitez's problem left-back position, according to reports in Italy, but the Reds face strong competition.

New Juventus boss Luigi Del Neri, who has just left Sampdoria for Turin, is keen to take Ziegler with him, but Atletico Madrid and Fiorentina are also said to have made contact with the player's agent.

Liverpool, with limited funds, could be priced out of the move, with Sampdoria thought to value him at about £8.5million.

MAY 21
Rafa targets West Ham pair

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is hoping to land West Ham pair Valon Behrami and Matthew Upson.

The Anfield manager has previously been linked with both Upton Park players but will this summer push on with attempts to bring in new talents to the club by offering squad players in part exchange in order to save spending cash.

Right-sided Swiss international Valon Behrami will be starring in next month's World Cup and could well be one player on his way to an Upton Park exit. Co-owner David Sullivan has stated that practically his entire team is available at the right price and Benitez is an admirer of the former Lazio man.

Benitez is also a fan of England international centre-back Matthew Upson and is reportedly hoping to bring in a new defender to help shore up the Liverpool back line that was especially leaky during the first half of this season.

This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

MAY 19
Benitez eyes Trotters defender

Liverpool are believed to be lining up a move for Bolton's Gary Cahill with Reds boss Rafael Benitez keen to buy more English players.

The Spaniard looks as though he will be in charge of Liverpool next season after a period of uncertainty which linked him with the job as manager of Juventus.

However, with the Italian side having appointed a new manager Benitez looks set to stay at Anfield and has laid out a transfer policy which will reportedly see him bring in more English players.

Cahill is believed to be one of those names on Benitez's list after another impressive season with Bolton, with a whole host of Premier League sides thought to be tracking him.

While manager Owen Coyle will be desperate to keep the centre half he might be tempted in to letting him leave should he receive an offer over £15million.

MAY 18
Chelsea target Benayoun as
possible Cole replacement

Harry Harris - Soccernet Correspondent

ESPN soccernet understands that Chelsea are considering making a move for Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun, with the Israeli international touted as a possible replacement for the out of contract Joe Cole.

Cole is apparently no nearer to resolving his contract dispute with owner Roman Abramovich, and the feelers are already out to find a suitable replacement, though Benayoun could even be recruited if Cole stays.

There are ample suitors for Cole, but he would like to stay at Stamford Bridge if he can come to an agreement over new terms.

However, a list of possible replacements has been put to manager Carlo Ancelotti and the Israeli is highly thought of by the Italian coach, who has now a much clearer picture of the players in the Premier League after his first season in charge of the club.

He is also clearer about what is needed to improve the team that won the Double, but fell short in the Champions League.

A Stamford Bridge insider told Soccernet: "There is no doubt that Yossi Benayoun is highly thought of at the club, and it wouldn't surprise me if he came to Chelsea."

Salomon Kalou has had plenty of opportunities to stake his claim for a place but has been far too inconsistent. His performance in the FA Cup final underlined the need for a different type of player in his position, and with Cole failing to convince Ancelotti it should be him, changes are likely to be afoot.

Abramovich would be interested in a major player exchange with Liverpool, and though the Russian would primarily want that deal to involve Fernando Torres, it could also include Benayoun.

Half a dozen of Chelsea's first team squad will be offloaded this summer, which would give Liverpool a bigger choice of players to potentially bring to Anfield.

MAY 18
Inter Milan target Benitez

Daily Star

Inter Milan are in talks with Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

Reports in Italy suggest Inter Milan are ready to swoop for Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

The Italian giants, who face Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Wednesday, have conceded that Jose Mourinho will leave them for Real Madrid.

And they have identified Benitez as the ideal replacement.

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti said: "It will be a big surprise now if he (Mourinho) stays."

Benitez had been linked with a move to Juventus, but the Bianconeri are set appoint Sampdoria coach Luigi Del Nieri.

MAY 18
Barcelona to battle Chelsea for Torres

Spanish champions Barcelona have been linked with a move for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and will go head to head with Chelsea this summer to sign the 26 year-old.

It has been reported that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will sanction a £50 million move for Torres later this month.

However, according to The Sun, Barca are ready to offload Zlatan Ibrahimovich after just one season and will use the money raised to make an offer they feel Liverpool can't refuse.

Liverpool will undoubtedly do all they can to keep the Spain international at Anfield but with so much uncertainty surrounding the club, be it the future of the owners or manager Rafael Benitez, the concensus is that Torres may be open to a fresh challenge and the guarantee of silverware.

The Sun claims that in order to beat off interest from other parties, Chelsea will offer Torres a staggering £190,000 a week and will lessen the club's wage bill by offloading the likes of Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti and possibly even Joe Cole.

MAY 17
Reports: Benitez ready to sell Benayoun

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is ready to sell Yossi Benayoun.

But the News of the World says despite several clubs, including Sevilla and Spurs, hunting the £9million-rated midfielder, Liverpool will block his sale until the Anfield managerial crisis is resolved. Benayoun's fate is being seen as the acid test of whether Benitez will avoid the sack this summer.

Benitez and Benayoun's relationship has broken down and tensions came to a head when the Israeli was left out of the squad for the final league game at Hull a week ago.

No major deals will be sanctioned until the board determines who will lead the team next season, and Benayoun says he is willing to fight on at Anfield under new management.

MAY 16
Mega swap on for Reds duo

Manchester City are ready to offer Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland to Liverpool in return for Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

The News of the World claim the duo will be used as bait to land the Reds star with an additional £40m also heading to Anfield.

City boss Roberto Mancini has already admitted that their failure to secure Champions League football could scupper their hopes of tabling an outright bid for the Spanish goal ace.

However, if this attractive alternative could be worth considering should Liverpool be left with no choice but to let the pair move on.

Adebayor has had a difficult year on and off the pitch and may welcome a clean break, while Ireland has struggled to find favour under Mancini despite being a regular and player of the year the season before under Mark Hughes.

Both Torres and the Liverpool captain have expressed their worries over the future of the cash-strapped club, so this could be a win-win situation for all concerned.

A stumbling block though, would be Adebayor's wages given that he has four years left on his contract at City worth a staggering £150,000 a week.

MAY 15
Rosell wants Torres top of
Barcelona shopping list

Barcelona have joined the battle for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

The Daily Mail says Chelsea and Manchester City had already expressed their desire to buy the £70million-rated Spaniard but now Sandro Rosell, the president-elect of Barcelona, has made contact with Torres’s representatives and has been encouraged by the response.

Torres is reluctant to leave Liverpool but is concerned over speculation surrounding Rafa Benitez’s future as manager and the club’s transfer funding and ownership.

It leaves Liverpool vulnerable to offers for the 26-year-old. But one factor in Liverpool’s favour is that current Barcelona president Joan Laporta plans to sign Valencia’s David Villa for £35m before the end of next week and that would make it difficult for his rival, Rosell, to splash out on Torres.

MAY 13
Reports: Benitez to bid for
Spurs striker Pavlyuchenko

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is ready to make an offer for Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko.

The Daily Star says Benitez is looking to strengthen his side ahead of next season.

And he is said to have named Spurs forward Pavlyuchenko as his number one target.

Pavlyuchenko, who was instrumental in helping Tottenham reach fourth spot this season, is unlikely to leave the club if they qualify for the Champions League.

However, with Liverpool willing to hold onto Fernando Torres, Pavlyuchenko could well be tempted with a move to Anfield.

MAY 13
Reports: Inter Milan president
to buy Gerrard for Mourinho

Inter Milan are preparing a major bid for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

The Mirror says Italian giants Inter Milan, who face Bayern Munich in the Champions League final next week, are set to make Gerrard their number one target this summer.

Inter president Massimo Moratti has told Jose Mourinho he will finance a summer spending spree to establish Inter Milan as the dominant force in European football to keep him.

Luring Gerrard away from Liverpool, where he has grown increasingly unhappy under Rafa Benitez, is part of the plan.

The England midfielder, who is also wanted by Manchester City, nearly moved to Stamford Bridge in 2005 and is a known admirer of Mourinho.

Benitez set to reject Juventus

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is set to reject a move to Juventus.

After giving Benitez until tomorrow to make a decision, Juventus are ready to look to bring back former player and coach Didier Deschamps from Marseille after being hit by a compensation demand from Liverpool believed to be £10m.

A source close to the Italian club told the Sunday Mirror: “Juventus feel they have gone as far as they can to bring Benitez to Italy.

“The latest obstacle is compensation. Time is starting to run out.”

Liverpool believe Juve’s bid to prise Benitez away has been driven by his agent, Manuel Garcia Quilon.

The Spaniard has four years left on his contract and it would have cost co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett £16million to sack him.

Wilson poised
to make Liverpool move

Vital Football

Rangers defender Danny Wilson is set to seal a move to English giants Liverpool in the next seven days. The Scottish PFA young player of the year will be transferred after the conclusion of the season.

Wilson has one year on his contract, and if he had stayed until next year Rangers would have picked up £500,000 compensation. It would now appear that his move next week will be worth around £2 million plus add ons for Rangers.

Rafa Benetiz also wants to sign Wilson now because it will give him three years as an under 21 player which means that he will be considered to be a 'homegrown' player for future UEFA competitions.

The young defender has had a great season in the centre of defence beside captain David Weir who is more than twice his age. Only last week he said he was keen to stay but it looks like Liverpool's offer will be too good for Rangers to refuse.

Wilson only made his debut for Rangers last October in a League Cup game against Dundee. Shortly after that he made his European debut in a 4-1 UEFA Champions League defeat to Unirea.

Liverpool will now have two ex Rangers central defenders in their squad. They already have Soti Kyrgiakos on their books. So who knows, maybe we could see a a dream team of Wilson and Kyrgiakos in the heart of the Liverpool defence in the near future?

Roma coach Ranieri targets
Liverpool midfielder

Roma are chasing Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun.

The Israel international was linked with Roma in January and he is now a top summer target for coach Claudio Ranieri.

Roma are ready to test the water with an approach for Benayoun following the 30-year-old's admission that he couldn't guarantee his future lies at Anfield.

The Israel international is highly regarded by Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and has been one of the club's most consistent performers this season, but his availability has been in question since Dynamo Moscow claimed they were close to a £7million move for him earlier this year.

Real Madrid set to swoop
for ‘uncertain’ Gerrard

By Andrew Slevison -

Real Madrid are believed to be ready to swoop for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

The 29-year old midfielder is reportedly uncertain about his future at Anfield and the Spanish giants want to exploit that by offering an improved £30million.

Madrid have enquired about Gerrard in the past but he has repeatedly stated his loyalty to the Reds but this new offer that has emerged is expected to shake things up a bit.

Liverpool missing out on the Champions League and facing uncertainty of its own in regards to a takeover could be two overriding factors but the main issue will be if manager Rafael Benitez is still at the helm.

Gerrard and the Spaniard have been at odds this season and if he is to remain at Anfield, it may make Gerrard think twice about the Madrid offer.

Reports: Chelsea bid
£70m for Torres

Football 365

Chelsea have launched a dramatic and potentially record-breaking £70m offer for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, according to reports.

The Daily Mail, splashing the bombshell across its back page, claims that 'preliminary discussions have already taken place, with the outcome of those meetings positive enough to convince Roman Abramovich that he will beat his big-spending rivals at Eastlands to the 26-year-old Spaniard'.

Manchester City, whose manager Roberto Mancini publicly confirmed his interest in signing Torres two weeks ago, had previously been thought favourites to sign Torres were he to leave Anfield. Fleet Street continues to maintain that the Spaniard is considering his future at the club despite signing a new deal last year.

Concern about Torres' intentions have been further complicated by claims in the past week that the striker may have lost faith in Rafa Benitez.

Following the suggestion made by The Daily Mirror that 'Torres is no longer an admirer of Benitez', The Sun reports this morning that 'Torres' relationship with the manager has cooled to such an extent there is now more chance of him staying if Benitez goes'.

Rafa Benitez is on the verge of ending
his six-year reign at Liverpool

By John Richardson - Sunday & Daily Express

Dubai International Capital are closing in on a £500million buy-out of Liverpool as manager Rafa Benitez prepares to join Juventus.

It will be all change at Anfield over the coming weeks with unpopular American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks relinquishing control and the club being forced to find a new boss.

In fact, the search for a new manager is already under way, with high-ranking Liverpool officials aware that Benitez has verbally agreed to join Serie A side Juventus at the end of the season on a £4.5m four-year deal.

Now it’s just a case of the Italians agreeing compensation with Liverpool for Benitez to end his ­ six-year reign on Merseyside.

There will also be a major upheaval in the boardroom with DIC, the investment arm of Dubai’s ruling family led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the front runner in the process to agree a deal with Gillett and Hicks.

DIC attempted to purchase the club in 2007 when major shareholder David Moores declared he was open to offers but then former chief executive Rick Parry recommended a sale to the Americans.

They were also in negotiations a year later to buy Gillett’s 50 per cent shareholding only for talks to break down.

Now it could be third time lucky for Sheikh Mohammed, a regular visitor to this country through his passion for horse racing.

DIC will also commit funds to build the much-anticipated new ground and make a considerable sum of money available for transfers.

Prominent in the discussions is DIC chief and self-confessed Liverpool fan Sameer Al Ansari.

Whatever the outcome of the delicate negotiations, Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow knows he has to prepare for a future without Benitez.

He is compiling a list of likely candidates which include Inter Milan’s Jose Mourinho, Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill, Ajax’s Martin Jol and former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard.

But the eventual answer could lie closer to home with former manager Kenny Dalglish.

The Scot, who returned to Anfield under Benitez to assume a role in the academy and is also a Liverpool ambassador, would bring unity and the old boot room spirit back to the club.

Benitez has become increasingly frustrated with life under Gillett and Hicks, believing that history is repeating itself.

He left Valencia, where he won two Spanish titles and the UEFA Cup, famously stating: “I asked for a table and they bought me a lampshade” – a reference to players he wanted to sign.

Before facing Chelsea today at Anfield in what will almost certainly be his last home game as Liverpool manager, admitted: “I left Valencia because the conditions changed.”

On his current situation at Liverpool he added: “I decided to sign a contract extension last summer because the squad was good and the money could be there. At the end the conditions have changed.

“The season has not been good. That is clear.”

Angry Rafa Benitez claims Liverpool
broke promises on new players

By Joe Bernstein - Daily Mail

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has opened the door to an Anfield farewell by accusing the club of breaking promises over new signings when he signed a five-year contract last summer.

Benitez, who is being actively pursued by Italian giants Juventus, effectively put himself on the market by drawing comparisons between his current situation at Liverpool and when he walked out on Valencia in 2004 after he and the Spanish club clashed over control of transfers.

The Spaniard will lead out his Liverpool team for their final home game against Chelsea on Sunday knowing that a victory could help bitter rivals Manchester United overtake their own record of 18 league titles.

But it is his own future that dominates the build-up to the match from Liverpool’s point of view, following Thursday’s dismal Europa League exit against Atletico Madrid.

Benitez said: ‘I decided to sign an extension because the squad was good and the money was going to be there. But the conditions changed.

‘We’ve had a bad season and hopefully things will be different in the future, but at the moment I can’t talk about the future because I don’t know what’s going on.

‘I left Valencia (for Liverpool in 2004) because conditions changed. It was not a question of my money that I stayed at Liverpool. I said No to other massive offers. I decided to stay under certain conditions and they have changed.

‘The players share the same frustrations. I know how they feel because I’ve been talking to them all season. The season has not been good, that is clear. We know why and what has to change.’

Benitez’s stance has exasperated Liverpool, who insist his job is safe despite a fourth season in a row without a trophy, and that has encouraged Juventus who want to take him to Turin.

But with Liverpool certain to demand compensation and the manager himself not sure about taking Juve’s offer, the matter may not be resolved as quickly as the Italians would like.

Benitez edging closer to exit door

By Harry Harris - ESPN Soccernet

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez looks to be on the verge of confirming his switch to Juventus.

Benitez has been under heavy pressure this season and, following the Europa League exit to Atletico Madrid on Thursday, he refused to answer questions over his future.

"At the moment I can't talk about the future long-term," Benitez said on Friday. "I know the future clearly and it is Chelsea on Sunday.

"I decided to stay last year because of the fans and for one year I have been working hard, trying to do my best. We will see what happens in the future."

Asked if he would be at the club next season, Benitez said: "I want win against Chelsea and then Hull, and that is all. I am here now, and hopefully I will still be here on Sunday against Chelsea."

Widespread reports in England and Italy now suggest the move is on the verge of completion and Soccernet spoke to its Italian contact in Turin, who confirmed: "Here in Turin, it is more or less accepted that the deal has been done.

"The reality is that it is actually the same strength as a month ago when I last told you that Juve believe they have got their man. They still do. In fact, here they are just waiting for Liverpool to come out and confirm it. Certainly there is no one at Liverpool who is in a position to say they want Benitez to stay.

"There is one last sticking point and that is that Benitez is seeking a golden handshake, compensation for going. He is expecting compensation. The Italian media are heading off today to Liverpool for what we believe will be the final chapter at Anfield for Benitez."

Following the news that owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr were ready to sell Liverpool, Benitez spoke enthusiastically about a potential takeover from China that would release funds for new players that might tempt him to stay.

However, Benitez does not trust the owners to sell, and there have been indications that prospective new investors or owners have been scared off because of the price being quoted.

Benitez would be due £16 million in compensation if he were to be sacked and, as such, may be eager to delay confirmation of his departure. Sources at Anfield have suggested he will threaten to stay on if he is not paid off.

Benitez plans to sit down with Christian Purslow, the managing director, after the final Premier League fixture away to Hull City to discuss his future, but in Italy they are sure he is heading to Turin.

A report in Gazzetta dello Sport stated Benitez would be allowed to work with a budget of around €80 million at Juventus, with Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Javier Mascherano apparently targeted. That budget would be dependent, however, on off-loading a number of players.

Corriere dello Sport has said Benitez has lined up Simon Kjaer of Palermo and Juan Manuel Vargas of Fiorentina.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, believes Juventus would be the right move for Benitez.

"I'm sure Rafa can be a success in Serie A," he told Tuttosport. "Tactically, he has fantastic experience. Maybe Juve will bring him to Turin."

Thor Zakariassen ©