July - 2007

3107: Benitez targets Baines
2307: Reds in hunt for Real starlet
1507: Reds' transfer warning over Crouch
1407: Heinze set to buy-out United contract...
1107: Fowler in talks over Sydney move
1007: Liverpool close to Benayoun deal
1007: Liverpool close in on Babel and...
0907: Rafa remains on trail of Simao
0907: Levante look to loan Paletta
0907: Rafa hopes to pick up a hot Babel
0807: Report: Carragher to quit England
0607: Irons set to seal 9m Bellamy deal
0507: West Ham linked to Bellamy swoop
0207: Report: Reds to step up Heinze bid

Benitez targets Baines

Football 365

Liverpool are being linked with a move for Leighton Baines if they fail to land Gabriel Heinze.

The Wigan left-back is their back-up option, according to the Daily Mirror, who also claim that the Reds have finally worked out that they need cover for Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger at centre-half.

Baines has already turned down a move to Sunderland, while Everton have had a bid of 4m plus a player turned down.

The Mirror also claims that Benitez is still looking for a wide player and although he would 'love' to sign Arjen Robben, he looks set to join Real Madrid.

Reds in hunt for Real starlet

By Mark Kendall - Sky Sports

Reports in Spain suggest Liverpool are pushing hard to secure the services of another Spanish youngster,
Real Madrid's Javi Garcia.

The 20-year-old defensive midfielder, part of the Spain side that won the Under 19 European Championship in 2006, has spent the last five seasons at Real having joined from a regional side in his hometown of Murcia.

Highly rated within the corridors of the Santiago Bernabeu, he was expected to graduate to Real's first team last season, but found his progress blocked by the summer signings of Emerson and Mahamadou Diarra.

As a result he spent the campaign with Real's B side, Castilla, and is now reported to be anxious for a chance to prove himself at first-team level.

With another change in management at the Bernabeu this summer that is far from guaranteed and he is now mulling over a number of offers to move on.

Real are keen to extend his contract which expires next summer, but Liverpool and Atletico Madrid are understood to be leading the chase for his signature, with both ready to part with 3million (2million) to land the youngster.

Mallorca, Getafe and Deportivo are also keen on Garcia but Liverpool and Atletico appear in the driving seat should the player choose to end his stay at Real.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez does have the advantage of sharing the same agent as Garcia, Manuel Garcia Quilon, although Atletico may feel they have a trump card of their own as Garcia's cousin, and former Liverpool player, Luis Garcia, now plies his trade at the Vicente Calderon.

Reds' transfer warning over Crouch

Clubcall Sports

Liverpool have slapped a 20million price tag on the head of striker Peter Crouch to ward off interest from several Premiership clubs.

Manchester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa are just a few of the clubs reportedly interested in signing the lanky England international hitman this summer.

However, despite the arrival of strike trio Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin, Reds boss Rafa Benitez is keen to keep Crouch as part of his attacking options, especially as Craig Bellamy has quit to join West Ham for 7.5million and Robbie Fowler departed at the end of his contract.

The 26-year-old former Portsmouth, QPR, Villa and Southampton forward still has two years left on his current Liverpool deal and Benitez feels he is worth more than Darren Bent, who recently joined Tottenham from Charlton for 16million.

Benitez recently said: "The only thing I can say is that Peter Crouch will be staying with us. I have said to Crouch that he must fight for his position and he will stay with us."

Heinze set to buy-out United
contract to clinch Liverpool move

Daily Mail

Gabriel Heinze is locked in a 6.8 million tug-of-war with Manchester United because they refuse to sell him to their bitter rivals Liverpool.

Anfield boss Rafa Benitez has been given the green light by the club's American owners to swoop for the Argentina defender.

But despite giving Heinze the all-clear to find a new club after losing his first-team spot to Patrice Evra last season, United have made it clear they have no intention of allowing him to move to Anfield.

Heinze is now weighing up whether to buy out the remaining two years of his Old Trafford contract in order to seal a dramatic switch down the M62 after admitting his desire to move to Liverpool.

New FIFA rules allow players to pay off the final two years of contracts and 65,000-a-week man Heinze knows it will cost him a whopping 6.8m to trigger his exit from United.

No player has moved between the clubs since the unheralded Phil Chisnall left Old Trafford for Anfield in 1964.

If the 29-year-old does buy out his contract, the Champions League finalists would then get Heinze on a free transfer, handing the player a hefty signing-on fee and salary package to compensate him for his United buy-out.

Fowler in talks over Sydney move


Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has reopened talks over a move to A-League side Sydney FC, according to reports in Australia.

The former England forward is a free agent after his release by Liverpool at the end of last season, and sources close to the A-League club are reported to be happy at the way discussions have progressed.

Sydney are still likely to face competition from several Championship clubs, however, with Leicester and Cardiff known to be keen to clinch his signature.

A move for Fowler was made more likely after former Coventry striker John Aloisi turned down a move back to his homeland.

Liverpool close to Benayoun deal

BBC Sport Online

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun is set to seal a summer switch to Liverpool, BBC Sport understands.

The West Ham playmaker and Israel international has long been linked with a move to Anfield and a 4m transfer will be finalised on Wednesday.

Reds manager Rafael Benitez has made no secret of his admiration for the 25-year-old who he has been tracking since the end of the season.

"It's clear he'd like to come and he's a player I like," said the Spaniard.

Benayoun, Israel's national captain, moved to Upton Park from Racing Santander in a 2.5m deal in 2005.

He has played 72 games for the Hammers and scored eight goals.

The clubs have already done business this summer with striker Craig Bellamy moving to the capital from Merseyside in a 7.5m deal.

Liverpool close in on Babel and Benayoun

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool hope to tie up their double swoop for Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun within the next 24 hours.

Negotiations for the pair have entered a key stage, with the Reds increasingly confident of reaching agreement with Ajax
and West Ham.

The arrival of 20-year-old attacker Babel appears more of a formality, with the player determined to complete the switch to Anfield for a fee likely to be around 10m.

Benayoun has also informed his club hes made up his mind to join the Reds, but talks with West Ham have proceeded delicately from the outset with the valuation of the player a sticking piont.

Progress was made during another day of tough negotiations yesterday, and its hoped the deadlock will be broken today.

West Ham want 6m for the Israeli international.

Rafa remains on trail of Simao

Clubcall Sports

Benfica's Simao Sabrosa remains Rafael Benitez's first choice despite rumoured interest in 14million-rated Porto ace Ricardo Quaresma.

The Anfield boss is believed to prefer Simao over his international colleague Quaresma, but has been forced to play a waiting game by the player's Lisbon club.

Benitez is desperate to add a top class wide man to his squad but has grown so frustrated with Benfica's stance that he has made it known to them he is actively persuing the Porto man.

This could spark the serious negotiations over 27-year-old Simao that Liverpool want, although the situation has also been complicated by continued interest from Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish club, flushed with over 20million in cash from the sale of Fernando Torres are emerging as serious candidates for Simao - having previously courted Quaresma.

Levante look to loan Paletta

By Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports

Liverpool defender Gabriel Paletta could be set for a loan move to Spain with Levante.

Reports emanating from Spain suggest Levante have expressed an interest in taking the Argentine ace on loan for the whole of next season.

The 21-year-old joined Liverpool from Banfield last summer, but he struggled to establish himself in Rafa Benitez's first-team plans.

Paletta made only eight appearances for the Reds last term and he is well down the pecking order of defenders at Anfield.

Benitez is believed to have given the loan move to Levante the green light as he is keen for the South American to gain some valuable first-team experience.

The deal does not include any option for Levante to make the move permanent as Paletta is tipped for a big future at Liverpool.

Rafa hopes to pick up a hot Babel


Liverpool hope to beat Arsenal and Newcastle to the signature of Ryan Babel after reportedly making a 6.75million bid for the Ajax winger.

Rafael Benitez secured his first major signing of the summer with the 26.5million capture of Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid last week and has now turned his attention to landing a new winger.

And according to The Independent, Benitez made an offer of around 10million euros for Babel on Sunday after the Dutchman impressed at the European Under-21 Championship last month.

The 20-year-old had previously said he wanted to join Arsenal after spending another season at Ajax, but Liverpool are poised to swoop after missing out on Florent Malouda to Chelsea.

Newcastle are also thought to be interested in Babel, who can operate as a striker as well as on the wings, but Sam Allardyce's side are unlikely to be able to match the spending power of the Champions League finalists.

Babel has been tipped by Holland manager Marco van Basten as one of the country's brightest young talents and he has already represented the senior Holland team, scoring on his debut against Romania in March 2005.

Report: Carragher to quit England

Sporting Life

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher could be set to announce his international retirement, according to
the Mail on Sunday.

The 29-year-old has started just three times since Steve McClaren took charge of the England team, and his absence from the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia last month is reported to have brought things to a head.

With Rio Ferdinand and Jonathan Woodgate sidelined, Carragher was expected to feature alongside John Terry, particularly having helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final with a string of wholehearted displays.

But McClaren opted for Tottenham's Ledley King in central defence and named Carragher among his substitutes.

A 'source close to Carragher' is quoted as saying: "Jamie does not want to sound like a big-time Charlie.

"He just feels that at this stage in his career it would be better if he concentrated his efforts on helping Liverpool become the No 1 team in England again.

"He has always regarded it as a tremendous honour to represent his country...but things have to end some time and he thinks this might be a good time to bow out."

Irons set to seal 9m Bellamy deal


West Ham have reportedly agreed a 9million deal for Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy, who is set to sign a four-year contract at Upton Park.

Bellamy has slipped down the Anfield pecking order following the arrival of Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid and has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs, as well as Italian sides Juventus and Roma.

However, the Daily Mirror claims Bellamy has agreed to join the Hammers after being offered a 70,000-a-week, four-year deal.

The Wales hitman moved to Liverpool from Blackburn in a 6.5million deal last summer and scored seven goals, the last of which came against Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

However, it became clear Bellamy did not feature in Rafael Benitez's long-term plans when he was an unused substitute in the Champions League final loss to AC Milan.

West Ham linked to Bellamy swoop

BBC Sport Online

West Ham are the favourites to sign Liverpool's Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy, BBC Sport understands.

The 27-year-old had fallen down the pecking order at Anfield following boss Rafael Benitez's summer signings of Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin.

Bellamy would help to plug any gap at Upton Park left by the possible departure of Argentine international Carlos Tevez to Manchester United.

The Wales captain joined Liverpool from Blackburn for 6m
in June 2006.

After starting his career with Norwich City, he has also had stints with Coventry City, Newcastle United, plus a loan spell at Celtic.

Bellamy scored nine goals in 42 appearances for the Reds.

Report: Reds to step up Heinze bid

Sporting Life

Liverpool will reportedly continue their pursuit of Manchester United full-back Gabriel Heinze despite his claims of interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Liverpool Echo claims Anfield boss Rafa Benitez is hoping to bring in the Argentine left-back for 4m to end 43 years of no direct transfers between the two clubs.

But Heinze seems to have made it clear that he will only leave United for a "super club" as he is settled at Old Trafford despite losing his first-team place to Patrice Evra.

"I already play for one super club and other ones such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have been mentioned," Heinze is quoted as saying in the Manchester Evening News.

"For me to go the offer has to be good for everyone. I'm very comfortable in Manchester. I've been a champion, captain and the fans love me. Everything is perfect."

Meanwhile; the Echo has rejected reports that Torres is stalling over the terms offered by Liverpool, saying the Spaniard has 'verbally agreed' a 90,000-a-week contract that gives him parity with Jamie Carragher and Xabi Alonso.

Thor Zakariassen