June - 2007

3006: Torres to hold talks with Reds
3006: Fergie reluctant to sell Heinze...
3006: Liverpool to land £26.5m Torres
2906: Liverpool get Torres, Garcia moves on
2806: Atletico agree deals for star duo
2706: Reds held up in Torres transfer
2606: Reds face Yossi fight
2506: Cisse on table as part of Torres deal
2506: Torres nears exit door
2506: Atletico want Pete in Torres swap
2506: Cisse deal can raise stakes in Torres...
2406: Reds set for record Torres deal
2406: Rafa blocks Owen move
2306: Reds may hijack Spurs' Bent deal
2306: Liverpool prepare to sell Cissé...
2206: Rafa ready to up ante for Benayoun
2106: Reds' Mancini bid rejected
2106: Reds face Torres battle
2006: Torres link to Liverpool resurfaces
1806: Liverpool make £13 million...
1806: Juventus and Roma join hunt for £12m...
1606: West Ham lining up Bellamy bid...
1506: L'OM looking for defender deal
1506: Liverpool and Spurs now favourites...
1406: Fowler linked with Rangers switch
1406: Hammers rage at Rafa's £1m...
1306: Reds target Barca starlet
1306: Report: Hammers win Bent race
1206: Atletico ready to sell hitman Torres
0906: Reds ask Addicks about Bent
0706: Juande on Liverpool's radar
0506: More new deals in Reds pipeline
0506: Bolton prepare to take Cissé from...
0306: Betis 'seeking Dudek deal'
0306: Hammers chase Bellamy
0306: Bolton want Carson
0306: Rafa to raise cash for Eto'o raid
0206: Reds look to £30m Eto'o
0106: Barca to fight for Eto'o
0106: European giants eye Momo swoop
0106: Robbie to Rangers?

Torres to hold talks with Reds


Fernando Torres could be allowed to discuss personal terms with Liverpool over a £27million move after he returns from holiday
next week.

The 23-year-old Spain striker's reported switch from Atletico Madrid moved a step closer on Saturday when his current club agreed a deal for Villarreal's Diego Forlan.

Atletico were keen to secure a replacement before sanctioning the sale of their talismanic captain, who came through the ranks at the capital club.

They now appear to have done so after Uruguay international and former Manchester United forward Forlan, currently on international duty in the Copa America, agreed a four-year deal.

A statement on the Atletico website read: "Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and the representative of Diego Forlan have reached an agreement for the transfer of the Uruguayan player to the Rojiblanco club for the next four seasons."

Fergie reluctant to sell Heinze to Liverpool

Daily Mail

Liverpool are ready to try to hijack Real Madrid's £6m move for United defender Gabriel Heinze.

Real look to have edged ahead of Juventus in the race for Heinze, but Liverpool could now present him with an opportunity to stay in the Premiership after earmarking him for their problem left back spot.

Manager Rafa Benitez is considering lodging a bid but is aware that United may be reluctant to sell to one of their main rivals for honours next season.

Liverpool to land £26.5m Torres

By Phil McNulty, Chief football writer - BBC Sport Online

Liverpool are on the brink of sealing a club record £26.5m deal to sign Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres.

BBC Sport understands a transfer has now been agreed between Liverpool and Atletico, and only a late change of heart in Spain will scupper the deal.

Liverpool's Luis Garcia is likely to go in the opposite direction for £4.5m, but the Torres deal will not collapse if he rejects the switch.

Boss Rafa Benitez is being linked with Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze.

Argentine defender Heinze is currently playing in the Copa America, but there is growing speculation Liverpool will try to do a deal for the 29-year-old.

It may prove complicated, however, with fierce rivals Liverpool and United notoriously reluctant to sell players to each other.

Torres is Liverpool's main priority, and there is hope that he could put pen to paper within the next few days.

Liverpool officials are playing their cards close to their chest on what will be a move that shatters their previous club record deal, the £14m paid to Auxerre for Djibril Cisse three seasons ago.

But it is understood the framework of the Torres move is finally in place between the two clubs after lengthy and complicated negotiations - although Liverpool remain cautious until it is actually signed and sealed.

Liverpool's approach is understandable given that Torres has reportedly been leaving Atletico for several seasons, only for moves to fall at the final hurdle.

Spanish international Garcia is expected to sign for Atletico, but if he remains at Anfield, Liverpool's new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks will pay straight cash for Torres.

Torres, 23, is currently on holiday until early July, but Benitez remains hopeful of confirming the deal then, with personal terms not expected to be a problem.

Atletico fans held a protest at the possible deal, and a club spokesman has tried to cool suggestions that move is now imminent.

The spokesman said: "The player is on holiday at the moment and will report back to training on 9 July for an Intertoto match.

"At the moment, any talk of a move is just speculation and we are still hopeful that Fernando will be with us next season."

Atletico are reluctant to sell, but Torres is believed to be keen to link up with Benitez.

Benitez wants to land Torres to provide a spearhead for an assault on the title - and also allow Gillett and Hicks to demonstrate their own financial commitment to his plans.

Torres has been consistently linked with a move to England, particularly with Arsenal and Chelsea, but Liverpool are now set to win the race.

If he signs, he will join fellow countrymen Garcia, Pepe Reina and Xabi Alonso, as well as boss Benitez.

Gil Marin, Atletico's major shareholder insisted that Torres is not irreplaceable.

"Nobody is indispensable. No player by himself, very good though he is, is able to make a team achieve its aims," Gil Marin said on Punto Radio.

"We have spoken to him and told him we would like him to stay. It is normal that he has doubts. It is normal that the offers and everything surrounding them has made him think."

Torres, 23, scored 14 league goals in 36 starts this season as Atletico finished seventh in La Liga.

The Spain international's Atletico contract runs until 2009.

Torres came up though the youth ranks at Atletico and has been their leading scorer in each of the last five seasons.

Liverpool get Torres, Garcia moves on

Sid Lowe, Jeremy Wilson and Stuart James -

Liverpool and Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal to take Fernando Torres to Anfield. Liverpool will pay fractionally less than the £27 million buy-out clause Torres has at the Vicente Calderon, leaving the 23-year-old striker to finalise personal terms before the move goes ahead.

Neither side anticipates major difficulties in closing the deal, with Liverpool understanding that any percentage of the transfer fee due to Torres must be paid by Atletico.

Luis Garcia is set to go in the other direction for almost £4 million but although his move facilitates negotiations on Torres and would bring down the cash price, the deals are not interdependent.

Liverpool paid £6 million for Garcia when he joined three summers ago but their manager, Rafa Benitez, is prepared to release him and Garcia is keen on a return to Spain to play for the club where he spent a successful season in 2002-03, scoring nine times in 30 games.

Although Atletico fans protested against the sale of Torres- the captain, standard-bearer and the player they have called "The Kid" since he made his debut at 16 - the club have decided it is time to cash in on their greatest asset.

"No one is irreplaceable," said their major shareholder, Miguel Angel Gil Marin. "We have to build a competitive team and no one player, however good he is, can achieve our objectives on his own. Last time I spoke to Fernando he said he was staying but I can't prevent him having a change of heart and I have to be prepared for that."

Atletico have previously had to withstand an offer from Tottenham and informal approaches from Chelsea for Torres, but agreed to drop Torres's buy-out clause from €90 million to €40 million this summer to facilitate a move.

They are keen on a cash injection and Torres has grown tired of waiting to fulfil his dream of playing in Europe for the club. He has always insisted he does not want to play for another Spanish team and is an admirer of the Premiership.

"If I left Spain I'd like to go to England, because it's interesting and because the way they play in Italy's not so attractive," he said 18 months ago.

Liverpool wanted to offer Djibril Cisse as part of the deal but the Frenchman rejected the move. Torres scored 14 league goals last season, taking him to 75 in five top-flight seasons.

Atletico agree deals for star duo


Atletico Madrid have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Villarreal's South American pair Diego Forlan and Juan Roman Riquelme.

Spanish daily AS claims a fee of up to 30million euros (£21million) has been agreed between the two clubs, and if that's the case it will only increase speculation that Fernando Torres is about to leave the Vicente Calderon.

Forlan has been a big hit at El Madrigal since leaving Manchester United in the summer of 2004. He was top scorer in his first season in La Liga.

He was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona last summer, but the Catalan giants ended up signing Chelsea's Eidur Gudjohnsen instead.

Forlan has a 23million euro release clause in his Villarreal contract, and has been linked with Sunderland and Liverpool.

Riquelme, meanwhile, spent the second half of last season back in Argentina with his old club Boca Juniors on loan.

And AS claims Atletico must now persuade him to return to Spain.

Reds held up in Torres transfer


Liverpool are reportedly closing in on record deal for long-term target Fernando Torres, but could be held up by a pay-off clause.

According to The Sun, Reds manager Rafael Benitez has agreed to pay £25million for the 23-year-old Spain international.

However the deal could be held up because Torres is entitled to 10 per cent of any fee and Atletico Madrid insist Liverpool should pay it.

The Premier League side are adamant this cash, all £2.5million of it, should come out of the overall transfer pot.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said: "Every player has a price and if they pay the transfer clause there is nothing we can do to stop Torres leaving.

"But at the moment what is certain is that there is nothing going on with Torres and any other club."

Benitez's own agent Garcia Quilon is trying to broker a deal and Liverpool are confident they will get their man.

Torres has long been linked with a move to England with his impressive 82 goals in 212 games for Atletico really raising awareness of his raw talents.

Meanwhile Liverpool have been expected to throw Djibril Cisse into the deal as part of a player-plus-cash arrangement while Luis Garcia could also be included.

Reds face Yossi fight

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Sven Goran Eriksson is hoping to hijack Liverpool’s move for Yossi Benayoun.

The Manchester City manager-elect has already earmarked his first transfer target, even before signing his three-year contract at Eastlands.

And he wants West Ham’s Israeli captain.

The Reds made an initial bid in excess of £1.5m more than a week ago for the midfielder, but it was instantly dismissed by West Ham.

The Reds have not made a renewed offer, hoping The Hammers’ desire to recruit a striker will lead to a possible exchange deal with Craig Bellamy.

And Benayoun is prepared to be patient.

The player’s agent, Ronen Katzav, said: “We are still waiting.

“The deal is still in place with West Ham. We are waiting to see if the two clubs can come to an agreement.

“I am not going to say Yossi is desperate for a move at all, but it is only natural – any player in the world would be attracted by Liverpool.”

West Ham agreed a new three-year contract with Benayoun, who Rafa Benitez sees as a replacement in his squad for the departed Bolo Zenden, but it has remained unsigned since Liverpool made their interest known.

Eriksson’s City backers believe a contract worth around £3m-a-year – terms Liverpool are unlikely to match – will persuade Benayoun to choose City.

Another Reds target, meanwhile, Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, is ready to confront club officials in an effort to break the deadlock over his proposed move.

The Spanish international striker is enthusiastic about the prospect of a move to Anfield, but fears he is being priced out of a switch.

He intends outlining his misgivings to president Enrique Cerezo.

Atletico’s £27million asking price is proving a stumbling block, although Liverpool are hoping a player-exchange could solve the impasse.

Benitez told the ECHO last week that Djibril Cisse will not be allowed out on loan again, and he could be used as a makeweight in the deal.

A move to La Liga may well appeal to Cisse, who recently bought a Spanish holiday home in Sitges.

Cisse on table as part of Torres deal


Djibril Cisse's agents are reportedly bidding to persaude Atletico Madrid to accept the Frenchman as a makeweight in the Fernando Torres deal.

Liverpool are currently well off meeting Atletico's valuation for Torres and their bid of £16million plus Luis Garcia has been knocked back.

The Spaniards, knowing Liverpool will not pay their £27million asking price, have reportedly asked for Peter Crouch in part-exchange but Rafa Benitez is keen to hold on to the England frontman.

Instead, he has instructed Cisse to open negotiations with Atletico, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

Benitez has warned the 25-year-old will not go out on loan again this season but the Reds chief would welcome a chance to get rid of a player who has failed to find his top form at Anfield.

Atletico are apparently already making plans for life after Torres, offering around £13m plus Mista for Villarreal striker Diego Forlan.

But Villarreal representative Jose Manuel Llaneza says any club that wants to buy Forlan away will have to meet the asking price.

"Villarreal does not want to bother negotiating for Forlan," said Llaneza in Marca. "His value is 23 million euros (£17m)."

Forlan was apparently considered by Rafa Benitez, but the Uruguayan is a little overpriced for the Spaniard's liking.

Torres nears exit door

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Atletico Madrid have had a 17 million-euros-plus-Mista bid turned down for Diego Forlan.

But the offer is the first indication that Atletico are preparing for life without Fernando Torres.

The 23-year-old Spanish international is wanted by Reds boss Rafa Benitez, and both parties now appear to be jockeying for position.

Torres’ agent, Antonio Sanz, has described a reported offer from the Reds of £16m plus Luis Garcia as “insufficient – if you keep in mind that Fernando guarantees you 15 goals per year, especially when Nani, an unknown player, cost Manchester United £20m.”

Another report claims that Atletico want Peter Crouch rather than Garcia, but Benitez will not part with last season’s 18-goal top scorer.

Villarreal representative Jose Manuel Llaneza, meanwhile, says any club that wants to tempt Forlan away will have to shell out more money.

“Villarreal does not want to bother negotiating for Forlan,” said Llaneza in Spanish newspaper Marca. “His value is 23 million euros (£17m).”

Reds boss Benitez initially considered Forlan himself, but decided the asking price was too high.

But he is prepared to push the boat out for Torres.

Reports in Spain suggest Atletico Madrid have been demanding 36 million euros (£24million), while Liverpool are only willing to offer 30 (£20million).

Torres’ buy-out clause in a straight-cash deal is 40million euros (£27 million).

Atletico want Pete in Torres swap


Atletico Madrid have reportedly told Liverpool they will only do business over Fernando Torres if Peter Crouch comes as part
of the deal.

The Daily Star claims the two clubs are £8million apart in their valuation for Spain international Torres, and while the Reds are believed to have offered Luis Garcia in part-exchange Atletico would favour the arrival of Crouch.

Officials from Anfield are set to travel to Madrid this week in the hope of completing a deal for the highly-rated 23-year-old, who has also been linked with Manchester United.

Atletico coach Javier Aguirre is said to be a big fan of England star Crouch and believes the 6ft 7in frontman would be a big hit in La Liga.

However, Liverpool chief Rafa Benitez wants a pool of four top-class strikers as he bids to challenge on all fronts next season, and would prefer to lose Garcia over Crouch.

Cisse deal can raise stakes in Torres bid

By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool will step up their attempt to sell Djibril Cisse before the end of the week – and boost their chances of landing Fernando Torres into the bargain.

It looks increasingly likely that Liverpool will have to smash their record transfer outlay by more than £10million to land the Atletico Madrid striker as his club stick steadfastly to their refusal to shift from a release clause in the region of £27million.

Manager Rafael Benitez has given no indication that his transfer budget can stretch this far on one player and is lining up a series of targets as back-up.

But netting a fee in the region of £8m for Cisse, who is Liverpool’s record buy after his £14m switch from Auxerre in 2004, will help raise the money for a bid that will capture 23-year-old Atletico skipper Torres.

Benitez is defiant in his insistence that Cisse won’t be considered for another year’s loan following his initial 12-month stay at Marseille.

Liverpool missed out on a transfer fee last summer when Cisse broke his leg playing for France ahead of the World Cup and his subsequent season-long loan was partly to assist his rehabilitation.

However, with the forward now fully fit and back among the goals towards the end of last season, Benitez has ruled out the possibility of a further loan deal and will hope that Marseille will meet the asking price.

It works in Liverpool’s favour that the French club’s hand will be forced by the consideration Bolton are giving to a bid for Cisse, as doubts remain over whether fellow Frenchman Nicolas Anelka will be staying at the Reebok.

Cisse’s agent Ranko Stojic has said that he and his client are meeting new Wanderers manager Sammy Lee this week, boosting Benitez’s hopes of a positive outcome to the saga.

But the Liverpool manager has drawn up a list of potential targets should he fail to land Torres.

PSV Eindhoven’s Ivory Coast striker Arouna Kone and Ajax forward Klaus-Jan Huntelaar have emerged as names on his list but Benitez inists that “there is no urgency” in his attempts to secure new players ahead of the new season.

However, he wants to boost his numbers before full pre-season training gets under way at the end of next week, when players involved in end-of-season internationals return to make it a full complement of players at Melwood.

Reds set for record Torres deal

Clubcall Sports

Liverpool are set to see off interest from Manchester United to seal the signing of Fernando Torres for a club-record £25m this week.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez has made the Atletico Madrid striker his number one transfer target this summer and looks set to get his man despite late interest in the 23-year-old from United.

It is thought the Spanish international would prefer a move to Anfield, where he would team up with fellow countrymen Benitez, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina, to spearhead the Reds' strike force next season.

There are reports Benitez will offer Atletico Luis Garcia or Djibril Cisse as part of the deal in order to reduce the amount Liverpool will have to fork out, although it is thought the Reds are willing to pay as much as £25m on Torres - a figure that easily eclipses the £14m spent on Cisse in the summer of 2004.

United's interest Torres is long-standing and reports have suggested Sir Alex Ferguson now wants the forward after his bid to land Italian international Fabio Quagliarella from Sampdoria stumbled over the weekend.

Rafa blocks Owen move

By Paul Hetherington - Daily and Sunday Express

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has rejected the chance to give England striker Michael Owen an Anfield return.

Newcastle were prepared to trade Owen for two Liverpool players – striker Craig Bellamy and left-back John Arne Riise.

But Benitez ruled out a deal for Owen, which would also have taken Bellamy back to Tyneside.

However, Owen could still be on the move – with Manchester City and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also interested in the 27-year-old striker.

Reds may hijack Spurs' Bent deal


Charlton hitman Darren Bent is expected to complete a £16million move to Spurs next week - unless Liverpool make a last-ditch offer for him.

The Addicks had been holding out for the £17million price agreed with West Ham for Bent earlier this month, before he pulled out of the deal.

However, the Guardian claims they have agreed a fee of £15million, with another £1million in 'success-related payments' for the England man.

However, the deal could be scuppered if Liverpool's chase for Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres fails, as Rafael Benitez has lined up Bent as an alternative target.

The move is likely to cast doubt over Jermain Defoe's future at White Hart Lane, with Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov currently established as the top two strikers at the club.

Bent is a more versatile option for Spurs boss Martin Jol, who is currently hamstrung by Defoe and Keane's apparent inability to play alongside each other.

Bent provides a more physical option, and has often played as a lone-striker in his time at The Valley.

If Bent does sign for Jol's side, he will be on a contract considerably less than the £75,000-a-week he was reportedly offered at West Ham.

Spurs have a rigid wage structure in place, with Robbie Keane believed to be the club's top-earner on £50,000 a week.

Liverpool prepare to sell
Cissé to raise transfer budget

By Andy Hunter - The Independent

Liverpool will accept an £8m loss on Djibril Cissé rather than allow their record signing to spend another season on loan at Marseille, with former coach Sammy Lee interested in bringing the French international to Bolton.

Cissé, a £14m signing from Auxerre in 2004, is keen to remain at Stade Velodrome where he enjoyed a productive end to last season following his recovery from a second broken leg but those prospects will diminish unless the French club revise their offer of another 12-month loan deal.

Liverpool are prepared to take £6m for the 25-year-old as they look to maximise Rafael Benitez's transfer budget and have been encouraged by confirmation the new Bolton manager wants the forward. Cissé's agent, Ranko Stojic, yesterday revealed: "It is true there has been some contact with Bolton. I have met up with Sammy Lee on one occasion. He impressed me, not just as a coach, but as a person. We are meeting Liverpool next week to find out what they want to do."

Lee has been told goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen will see out the final year of his Bolton contract rather than explore a possible move to Sunderland or Aston Villa after rejectinga new deal last week.

Rafa ready to up ante for Benayoun


Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is ready to stump up £4.5million in a bid to prise midfield playmaker Yossi Benayoun from West Ham's grasp.

Reds boss Benitez had a £3million bid for the Israeli winger knocked back earlier in June - and is reportedly prepared to return with an improved offer of £4.5million.

The Hammers have pulled the plug on a new contract offer for Benayoun after he expressed his desire to move to the Champions League finalists.

However, Liverpool's initial bid was deemed unacceptable by the Hammers, so they will come back with a fresh approach.

Benayoun said: "I'm honoured a club like Liverpool is interested in me. I'm contracted to West Ham, so we will have to see what happens."

According to The Sun, Benitez is willing to use Welsh striker and reported Hammers target Craig Bellamy in a swap deal for Benayoun.

The Irons are keen to strengthen their forward line after Charlton hitman Darren Bent rejected a move to Upton Park.

Therefore, Bellamy could be an ideal makeweight in the deal, after Benitez made it clear that he is surplus to requirements at Anfield.

Reds' Mancini bid rejected

Channel 4

Roma have reportedly rejected an offer from Liverpool for Brazilian winger Amantino Mancini.

Rafael Benitez is looking to strengthen his squad for a Premiership title push next season and Mancini’s name has allegedly been included in the Coach’s summer wish list.

According to the latest reports in Italy, Liverpool made a £13m offer for the South American, but it does not seem likely that he will leave the Stadio Olimpico.

Mancini is considered as a key player by the Giallorossi outfit and Luciano Spalletti seems determined to hold on to the star, who has drawn interest from a number of clubs.

Liverpool could table an improved bid in the near future, but the capital city outfit are expected to offer the former Venezia man a contract extension, as his current deal expires in 2009.

In the meantime, director general Rosella Sensi has insisted that Cristian Chivu is not certain to depart the Stadio Olimpico, despite being heavily linked with a move to Inter.

“There is no meeting scheduled with Massimo Moratti, but we will speak with the San Siro outfit when the time comes,” she explained.

“Chviu’s future? He might still be a Roma player next year,” added the official.

Reds face Torres battle

By Chris Harvey - Sky Sports

Liverpool will have to top their transfer record if they want to land Spain striker Fernando Torres.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is understood to have told potential suitors they will have to pay the £27million release clause in his contract to land him.

There are suggestions a delegation from Liverpool has been in the Spanish capital looking to tie up a deal before other clubs can muscle in but the two parties are not thought to be close to an agreement.

Manchester United and Chelsea are also believed to be monitoring movements, according to press reports.

Uncertainty over the transfer funds available to Rafael Benitez may force the Reds boss to look at a player-plus-cash deal in order to land the world-class striker he covets.

After failing to qualify for the Uefa Cup next season, Atletico may be prepared to cash in on Torres in spite of their efforts over the last couple of years to hang on to their prized asset.

Torres link to Liverpool resurfaces

Liverpool have once again been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres.

The Spanish striker will cost around £25m because of a clause in his contract but reports claims that price will not put off manager Rafa Benitez.

Torres has previously been a target for Manchester United and Chelsea, but he is thought to favour a move to Liverpool.

During a recent match his captain's armband slipped to reveal the words 'You'll never walk alone' printed on the reverse.

Atletico appear to have finally agreed to sell Torres after failing to reach the Uefa Cup following a disappointing season in which their star striker still managed to score 14 goals.

One report suggests that Liverpool have despatched officials to Madrid to open talks with Atletico Madrid, who might be tempted by an offer of former player Luis Garcia in part exchange.

Liverpool make £13 million
for Zaragoza striker

all3points - Liverpool

Liverpool have made a move for Zaragoza striker Diego Milito according to reports over the weekend.

The News of the World claims that Liverpool have launched a £13 million bid for the Argentinean striker after accepting they are set to lose out to Tottenham in the race to sign Charlton's Darren Bent.

28 year old Milito scored 22 goals for Zaragoza last season and the paper quotes him as saying:

"Liverpool are a club any player would like to move to. I believe I could adjust without any problems."

Juventus and Roma join hunt
for £12m Liverpool cast-off Bellamy

By Dominic Fifield - The Guardian

Craig Bellamy's future at Liverpool appears increasingly uncertain after Juventus and Roma expressed tentative interest in luring the Wales forward to Serie A, with the Merseysiders willing to listen to offers for him.

While there has been no direct contact between Liverpool and rival clubs, Juve's new manager Claudio Ranieri has made inquiries as to the 27-year-old's availability and it is understood he would be willing to pay up to £10m for his services, a fee which approaches Liverpool's £12m valuation.

Yet any interest from Roma would be more appealing for Rafael Benítez, who would hope to negotiate a move to Merseyside for the Brazilian winger Alessandro Mancini in part exchange.

Liverpool's apparent willingness to listen to offers will serve as confirmation for Bellamy that his days are numbered at the club, despite scoring nine goals in 42 appearances last term and playing a significant part in the notable win at Barcelona in the Champions League knock-out phase.

The Wales striker moved from Blackburn for £6m last summer but Benítez was unimpressed with his antics in a mid-season training break in Portugal... when he threatened his team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club, and is unconvinced that the forward can flourish in his squad rotation system.

West Ham, Aston Villa and Blackburn had all shown interest in the forward at the end of the season, but the latter two have been put off by Liverpool's price. West Ham may yet emerge as contenders to sign him having failed to secure Darren Bent in a deal that was worth £17m, with Benítez aware now that he will need to raise funds through one major sale, preferably Bellamy, if he is to strengthen his squad in the close season.

West Ham lining up Bellamy
bid after Bent snub

By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post

West Ham are set to turn their attention to Craig Bellamy after missing out on number one target Darren Bent.

Despite agreeing to meet Charlton’s valuation for the striker and offering a £75,000 five-year deal, Bent turned down a move across London.

The Hammers, who were ready to pay £16million cash plus Hayden Mullins, will now attempt to boost their forward line with Bellamy.

Liverpool will allow the Welsh striker to leave if they can get a satisfactory profit on the £6million they paid Blackburn Rovers for him a year ago.

West Ham are believed to be preparing a £9million bid, but this could rise if they decide to include Yossi Benayoun – who has handed in a transfer request in the wake of an approach from Liverpool – as part of an exchange deal.

In terms of Bent, Tottenham have now moved into pole position in the hunt for the forward, who has also been a target of Benitez but is currently out of Liverpool’s price range.

But with West Ham out of the running, it’s likely Charlton will have to accept a lower bid although their chief executive Peter Varney insists that Bent will remain with them despite last season’s relegation.

“He said: We look forward to Darren starting with us in the Championship next season, which is a massive boost to our chance of returning to the Premier League.”

Liverpool are believed to have made a £10million bid already but Spurs are also unlikely to offer the kind of package West Ham were putting on the table.

A Hammers spokesman said: “West Ham have been considering options in terms of a new striker and will now be pursuing alternatives.”

L'OM looking for defender deal

By Patrick Haond - Sky Sports

According to reports in France, Marseille are considering a move for Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia.

The two clubs have already been locked in negotiations regarding a permanent deal for Djibril Cisse, and France Football claims l'OM are also interested in the Finnish defender.

Liverpool have given no official indication as to whether Hyypia will survive Rafa Benitez's cull at Anfield this summer, but the player has previously revealed he believes he will remain on Merseyside.

If The Reds are reluctant to part company with Hyypia, then Marseille could well turn to former Arsenal defender Pascal Cygan, who now plies his trade with Villarreal in Spain.

Celta Vigo's Gabriel Tamas is also believed to be a prime target as Marseille plan for UEFA Champions League football next season.

Liverpool and Spurs now
favourites to sign £17m Bent

The Daily Mail

Liverpool have emerged as shock contenders to sign Darren Bent after the England striker rejected a £17m move to West Ham.

Tottenham chiefs are also reported to have held talks late last night with a view to renewing their interest in the Charlton forward.

West Ham thought they had got their man, after agreeing a £75,000-a-week deal.

However, they were stunned as Bent changed his mind then Yossi Benayoun decided he wanted to pursue Liverpool's interest in him.

However, Charlton have not given up hope of keeping Bent at The Valley and Addicks chief executive Peter Varney said: "We set a valuation and West Ham are the only club to have met that valuation.

"Darren has decided not to join West Ham so we look forward to him starting with us in the Championship next season."

Fowler linked with Rangers switch

BBC Sport Online

Former England striker Robbie Fowler would welcome an approach from Rangers, according to a report in The Herald.

An unnamed representative of the 32-year-old free agent told the newspaper: "Robbie wants to play for Rangers. It would be ideal for him.

"He wants to come and add medals to his collection. It would be a major boost for the fans.

"He could score the goals that would qualify them for the Champions League. The signing would pay for itself."

Fowler, who has also been linked with Celtic and a move to the US, is looking for a new club, having been released by Liverpool.

The striker returned for a second spell at Anfield in January 2006 and scored 12 goals despite his limited appearances over the last season-and-a-half.

He made his Liverpool debut as an 18-year-old in 1993, scoring 171 goals in 330 games before joining Leeds for £11m in 2001 and then Manchester City for £6m in 2003.

Hammers rage at Rafa's
£1m Benayoun offer

The Daily Mail

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has enraged West Ham by offering an 'insulting' £1m for Yossi Benayoun.

The 27-year-old Hammers midfielder has stalled on a new five-year contract and admits he would like to move to Anfield.

But Liverpool's cheeky attempt to get him on the cheap has been greeted with a brick wall of silence from West Ham who are now even more determined not to let him go.

Reports in the Daily Mirror suggest the Reds were ready to offer £1m now and another £1m in a year's time.

This has been rejected as 'insulting' by Hammers chairman Eggert Magnusson but has clearly unsettled Benayoun who was due to sign an imporved £50,000 a week deal.

Israel international Benayoun was offered the new contract three weeks ago then claimed he would be 'delighted' to stay with the 'best supporters in England.'

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said today: "I can confirm we have made an approach for Yossi Benayoun, but the figures quoted are completely wrong.

"Other than that we don't want to say any more."

Reds target Barca starlet

By Andrew Scurr - Sjy Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is reportedly lining up a bid for Barcelona youngster Marc Crosas.

The 19-year-old midfielder made his Barca debut earlier this season following an impressive run of performances for the Catalan club's B team.

Crosas could follow former Barca youngsters Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida, who are both now at Arsenal, in moving to the Premiership.

"After Barca, English football is my passion," Crosas is quoted in the Daily Mirror.

Benitez is believed to be looking to land Crosas initially on loan with the possibility of him making the switch to Anfield permanent at a later date.

Report: Hammers win Bent race

Sporting Life

West Ham are set to beat Tottenham and Liverpool to sign Charlton striker Darren Bent in an £18million deal.

According to the Daily Star, the Hammers have offered £80,000 a week to secure Bent's services, while Charlton will receive £15million plus Marlon Harewood and Hayden Mullins, who are surplus to requirements at Upton Park.

Spurs and Liverpool had also been strongly linked with moves for Bent, who is desperate to stay in the Premier League following Charlton's relegation in order to enhance his England chances.

A move to Upton Park would see Bent reunited with former boss Alan Curbishley, who signed Bent for the Addicks from Ipswich two years ago.

And the Tractor Boys will also be celebrating if the deal does go through, as they'll receive a windfall of around £2.5million from a sell-on clause in Bent's contract.

Atletico ready to sell hitman Torres


Atletico Madrid will spark a transfer scramble next week by confirming that star striker Fernando Torres will be in the summer sales.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with moves for Torres in the past and would be forced to offer at least £15million for his services.

Tottenham, West Ham and Newcastle also have the funds to mount rival bids - but the lure of Champions League football gives the big four a major advantage.

The 23-year-old has scored 82 goals in 212 league appearance for Atletico, while his record for Spain is 14 in 42 games.

His club's failure to earn a UEFA Cup slot this season means they are expecting to lose their star forward and the Premier League is the most likely destination.

Reds ask Addicks about Bent

Sporting Life

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has reportedly firmed up his interest in Charlton striker Darren Bent.

Reds manager Benitez is checking out the availability of the other names on his shortlist after learning Samuel Eto'o has decided to stay at Barcelona.

England striker Bent, 23, hit 15 goals last season as the Addicks battled in vain to survive in the Premiership.

But although Benitez has plenty of funds available, the Spaniard is likely to baulk at Charlton's £14million valuation of their prize asset.

West Ham, Tottenham and Valencia have also been linked with Bent, and Charlton are keen to sell early in the window to boost their transfer kitty.

Juande on Liverpool's radar

ITV Football

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is reportedly lining up a move for one of the brightest prospects in Spanish football Juande.

The Real Betis midfielder broke into the first team towards the end of last season and his performances have caught the eye of Benitez.

The Sevilla-based club are one of a handful of Spanish sides eager to sign Reds winger Mark Gonzalez with sources claiming that Betis are lining up a £2.3million deal for the Chile international.

Benitez is keen to do business with the La Liga outfit, but part of any deal for Gonzalez will involve the Merseysiders gaining first option on Juande.

The 20-year-old is a defensive midfielder and with the likes of Javier Mascherano and Momo Sissoko already at the Premiership giants, Benitez may opt to let Juande continue his development in Spain next season.

More new deals in Reds pipeline


Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is expected to target the names of Xabi Alonso and Jose Reina to the list of players accepting new contracts.

England duo Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher sealed new four-year deals tying them to Anfield until 2011 on Monday, but Benitez could have more trouble keeping Alonso as he prepares for the new season.

Reina seems certain to extend his deal, as does full-back Steve Finnan, but speculation from Spain suggests Alonso is seriously considering a move to Barcelona.

Benitez, who returns from holiday at the end of the week, aims to move heaven and earth to prevent Alonso's departure, but that deal is the most worrying point as he attempts to keep a string of senior men at Anfield.

Bolton prepare to take Cissé from Liverpool

By Dominic Fifield - The Guardian

Bolton Wanderers hope to sign the unsettled Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé on loan in a move that could pave the way for Nicolas Anelka to leave the Reebok in search of Champions League football.

The Wanderers chairman, Phil Gartside, stated publicly yesterday that he would resist bids for Anelka after Manchester United sought clarification on the striker's availability last month. "Sammy Lee is looking to build a squad for next season and we absolutely have no interest in selling any of our better players," he said. "Nicolas, of course, is one such player."

But Lee is concerned the 28-year-old may be tempted away by a club, in England or abroad, who are competing in next season's European Cup. With that in mind, he is preparing to turn his attentions to Cissé and has been given the go-ahead by Gartside to pursue the forward.

Cissé, Liverpool's record signing when he was bought by Gérard Houllier from Auxerre three years ago for £14.1m, spent last season at Marseille where, after finally recovering from a broken leg sustained on international duty with France before last summer's World Cup, he scored eight goals in 21 league appearances.

Despite that tally and the fact that Cissé has two years to run on his contract on Merseyside, Rafael Benítez has made it clear he sees no future for the striker at Anfield and Liverpool are keen to recoup about £6m for the 25-year-old.

Marseille have indicated they would struggle to meet that fee and Cissé is understood to be keener to play in the Premiership or La Liga next term. He owns a property in Cheshire and Bolton, as Uefa Cup qualifiers, are potentially an attractive proposition.

Betis 'seeking Dudek deal'

By Tom Adams - Sky Sports

Reports in Spain claim that Real Betis are engaged in talks with Liverpool over the possible signing of Jerzy Dudek.

The Polish keeper will leave Anfield in the summer after seeing his international hopes fade as a result of his failure to dislodge Jose Reina in Rafa Benitez's plans.

Spain has now emerged as a realistic destination for the keeper as Marca reports that the Andalucian club have begun to talk with their English counterparts about a possible deal for the former Feyenoord man.

The two clubs have already been negotiating a transfer for out-of-favour Liverpool winger Mark Gonzalez, and Dudek could be joining his young team-mate on the plane to Spain if a double deal can be arranged.

Dudek's final game for Liverpool came in the 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth in April, and the Pole will always be fondly remembered on Merseyside after his penalty shoot-out heroics in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final heroics against Milan.

Hammers chase Bellamy

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

West Ham are the latest side todeclare an interest in signing
Craig Bellamy.

Aston Villa, Spurs and Backburn are all reportedly keen on signing the Wales striker. Now West Ham have also entered the chase and are prepared to offer better personal terms than the other three.

Liverpool want £12m for Bellamy but none of the sides are prepared to pay that. The Reds will definitely make a profit on the £6m they paid for Bellamy last Summer however.

Bolton want Carson

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

Bolton Wanderers want to sign Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson.

Former Liverpool coach Sammy Lee, now manager at the Reebok Stadium, wants to sign Scott Carson to replace Sunderland bound Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The Reds don't want to lose Carson but may be prepared to let him join Bolton on a season long loan.

Rafa to raise cash for Eto'o raid


Rafael Benitez will sell Momo Sissoko and Craig Bellamy and then ask Liverpool's owners for the rest of the cash needed to sign Samuel Eto'o.

New Anfield honchos George Gillett and Tom Hicks have promised to back Benitez in the transfer market this summer - but the Spaniard knows he will have to help fund a £35million for Barcelona hitman Eto'o.

Benitez is ready to offload fiery striker Bellamy, who is being chased by West Ham and Aston Villa, for around £6million - and Sissoko is also surplus to requirements following the successful impact of Javier Mascherano at Anfield.

The Mali midfielder has fallen behind Mascherano, Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard in the pecking order - and would command a fee of £7million, with both Barca and Juventus said to be monitoring him.

Benitez is desperate to break Chelsea and Manchester United's stranglehold on the Premiership title race - and believes Eto'o is the world-class striker Liverpool need to bid for the English crown.

Reds look to £30m Eto'o

Clubcall Sports

Rafa Benitez is reportedly ready to splash up to £30m on Samuel Eto'o while Momo Sissoko's agent insists the midfielder will stay.

Benitez is looking for at least one new striker and Barcelona star Eto'o is said to top his summer wish-list.

The Reds will face big competition for the Cameroon international - not least from Premiership rivals Manchester United - who is thought to be unsettled at the Nou Camp and indicated recently he would be willing to move to England.

Barca to fight for Eto'o

By Mark Kendall - Sky Sports

Reports in Spain claim Barcelona will fight tooth and nail to keep Samuel Eto'o in the face of renewed interest from a host of Europe's most powerful clubs.

The Cameroon striker - who is currently on international duty preparing for a match with Liberia on Saturday - has enjoyed another productive season for Barca despite a serious knee injury earlier in the campaign that sidelined him for four months.

The African has still managed to bag 13 goals - including 12 in 15 league starts - cementing his reputation as one of the continent's top marksmen.

However, renowned for his outspoken views, Eto'o has caused a certain amount of unrest at Camp Nou and had a highly-publicised fall-out with Ronaldinho earlier in the term.

It was thought that Barca were preparing to offload him this summer with Arsenal's Thierry Henry his preferred replacement, but the Catalan giants are now reported to have changed their stance.

His fine form, which has been the catalyst for Barca's resurgent title bid, has convinced the club's hierarchy to retain his services although they will make it clear to the 26-year-old that further controversial outbursts will not be tolerated.

Eto'o's list of admirers reads like a who's who of Europe's premier outfits with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Milan and Internazionale all ready to make their move given encouragement.

Rafa Benitez, armed with a substantial summer transfer kitty, is thought to have pinpointed Eto'o as the prolific goalscorer to spearhead what is likely to be a revamped side next term with Spanish sports newspaper AS claiming an incredible €60 million (£40 million) is being readied.

They would be sure to face stiff competition for the former Mallorca hot-man, although it would now appear that Barca will shun all offers to keep hold of their coveted striker.

European giants eye Momo swoop


European heavyweights Juventus and Barcelona are reportedly ready to battle it out for the signature of Liverpool midfielder
Momo Sissoko.

The Mali international is keen to have talks with Reds chief Rafa Benitez over his lack of first-team action at Anfield after the January arrival of Javier Mascherano.

"If I am not to leave," Sissoko told Tuttosport, "Then I must play more."

But with Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Mascherano already ahead of the 22-year-old in the central-midfield pecking order, and the likelihood of further additions being made to the squad, Sissoko looks almost certain to be surplus to requirements.

Signed from Valencia for £5.6million in July 2005, Sissoko has made 36 Premiership starts and could command a fee in the region £7million.

Juventus are looking to stengthen after returning to Serie A following relegation for their part in the Italian match-fixing scandal, while Barcelona are keen to add more bite to their midfield to supplement the attacking flair of Ronaldinho and company.

Robbie to Rangers?

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

Robbie Fowler has been linked with a move to Rangers.

Fowler has been told he can leave Liverpool this Summer and Glasgow Rangers are the latest side to express an interest in the Scouser.

Celtic were also chasing Fowler but their interest may have cooled after signing Hibs striker Chris Killen.

Thor Zakariassen ©