July - 2009

3107: Aquilani agrees Liverpool terms
3007: Cattermole and Turner
           to replace Alonso?

2707: Cattermole interest mounts
2407: Liverpool return on
          the cards for Crouch?

2307: Liverpool ready to offload
          Arbeloa in £3.5m Madrid deal

1907: Benitez to launch bid
           for Villa winger Young

1707: Alonso set for exit
          as Madrid increase offer

1507: Benitez eyes Silva after
          Alonso nears exit to Real Madrid

1407: Roma brace for
          Liverpool offer for Aquilani

1107: Report: Liverpool eye Cattermole
           to replace Alonso or Mascherano

0807: Benitez ready to sell
          Mascherano for right price

0707: Prem rivals interested in Valbuena
0507: Report: Real Madrid to end
          pursuit for Alonso

0407: Reds offered Alonso bait
0207: Barca making £25m
          move for Mascherano



Aquilani agrees Liverpool terms

By Vince Masiello -

According to Rome-based daily Il Messaggero, Italian international midfielder Alberto Aquilani is ready to turn his back on his hometown club Roma and commit his long-term future to Premier League giants Liverpool.

‘Il Principino’ has allegedly agreed a five-year contract with the Anfield outfit worth €4 million-per-season.

However, Liverpool have yet to enter formal discussions with the Lupi as Aquilani’s move to England is directly tied to Xabi Alonso’s future, with the Spaniard reportedly on the verge of finalising a move to Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid.

Aquilani only penned a new contract with the Giallorossi last May, tying him to the Olimpico until June 2013, but president Rosella Sensi is prepared to sacrifice the youth product to ease the club’s financial problems and is hoping to get at least €20m out of the deal.

Meanwhile, Roma have reportedly turned down the chance to sign Nigerian striker Victor Obinna on loan from Inter, setting their sights on Milan winger Ignazio Abate instead.

Cattermole and Turner to replace Alonso?

By Adam Bryant - LFC Online

Xabi Alonso's time at Liverpool appears to be drawing to a close, with latest press reports saying that he will sign for Real Madrid by the end of the week.

But the Daily Mail are claiming that Rafael Benitez will spend some of his transfer fee on Wigan midfielder Lee Cattermole and Hull defender Michael Turner.

Cattermole is being valued at £12m - a huge increase on the £3.5m he cost Wigan from Middlesbrough a year ago.

Turner would cost a more reasonable £5.5m, but neither impress the fans who were hoping to see serious bids made for David Silva and David Villa.

Cattermole interest mounts

By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports

Arsenal and Liverpool are both keeping close tabs on Lee Cattermole's situation, understands.

The Wigan midfielder had an outstanding maiden campaign at the DW Stadium following his arrival from hometown club Middlesbrough last season.

Cattermole also shone whilst on international duty with Stuart Pearce's U21s over the summer as he helped England to the final of the European Championship.

Now his former boss Steve Bruce, who moved to Sunderland earlier in the summer, is desperate to sign him again.

Having lodged two bids for Cattermole already this summer and had them rejected, Sunderland are reportedly ready to test Wigan's resolve with a £10million offer.

Wigan supremo Dave Whelan has been quick to dismiss Sunderland's interest in the player - but propositions from two of the top-four could be a different matter.

Manchester United prised Antonio Valencia from Wigan earlier this year, and now they could face a similar battle to try and keep Cattermole - should either or both Arsenal and Liverpool make concrete offers.

One snag for either Arsenal or Liverpool could be that they are unlikely to want to go as high as £10million, which Sunderland are ready offer.

Liverpool return on
the cards for Crouch?

The possibility of Peter Crouch returning to Liverpool has been raised after Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp hinted that he had been priced out of a move for
the Portsmouth striker.

Crouch moved to the south coast from Anfield last summer after seeing his first-team opportunities dry up under Rafa Benitez but, according to a report in today’s Star newspaper, he could be lined up for a dramatic return.

Fulham and Sunderland have also expressed an interest in the England forward but after he rejected an offer from Steve Bruce it was thought that Crouch was destined for a reunion with Redknapp at White Hart Lane.

However, the Tottenham manager spoke this week of a prohibitive cost associated with the £12 million fee and high wages, questioning whether a deal could be struck.

Benitez is believed to have been watching Crouch since he left Liverpool and has asked to be kept abreast of developments.

Crouch spent three years with Liverpool and was popular with the club’s fans but was deemed surplus to requirements and sold for £11 million to Portsmouth.

However, with Andriy Voronin set to leave the club, Benitez is on the look out for additional striking cover and if Crouch is willing to accept a support role to Fernando Torres he could be brought back to Anfield.

Liverpool ready to offload
Arbeloa in £3.5m Madrid deal

The Daily Mail

Real Madrid hope to clinch a cut-price deal for Liverpool right-back Alvaro Arbeloa.

The 26-year-old has been told he can leave following the arrival of England international Glen Johnson from Portsmouth.

Arbeloa has just a year on his contract and has been expected to make the switch to the Bernabeu all summer.

But Madrid's attempts to also sign Xabi Alonso have slowed negotiations and the clubs have also been some distance apart in their valuations of the former Deportivo La Coruna player.

Liverpool had hoped to recoup £8million, but Madrid now expect to land Arbeloa for just £3.5million.

Madrid sporting director Miguel Pardeza confirmed he hoped to sign Arbeloa but admitted there was still some work to do.

"With Arbeloa there was an option which, at the moment, has come to nothing," said Pardeza.

"Liverpool haven't had much intention of letting him go, even though he has one year left on his contract, and we are still in this situation.

"There is more than a month of the transfer market left and this could change. I'm not going to deny that we'd like to have Arbeloa."

Benitez to launch bid
for Villa winger Young

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is launching a bid for Aston Villa winger Ashley Young.

The News of the World says the lure of a Premier League title challenge and Champions League action at Anfield will be tough for Young to resist, especially in a World Cup season.

Benitez and Martin O'Neill fought a bitter transfer war over Gareth Barry 12 months ago. The Villa boss frustrated Benitez on that occasion, when the Anfield board refused to meet the midfielder's £18m valuation.

This time Benitez can expect the funds to get his man, alth
ough Villa recently slapped a £30m price tag on the 24-year-old.

Alonso set for exit
as Madrid increase offer

By Jason Darby - Anfield Online

Madrid’s attempt at calling Liverpool’s bluff has failed and the Spanish club look set to increase their offer in an attempt to close the Xabi Alonso transfer deal by the weekend.

Xabi is due to return to training with his Liverpool players ahead of a Far East tour this weekend, and tomorrow the original deal involving Xabi’s former club Real Sociedad expires. Any sale of Alonso before then would involve Sociedad pocketing 20% of any transfer value.

Liverpool had flatly rejected a £22M offer from Madrid, insisting the player was valued at £35M. This led to Madrid telling the media that they would look elsewhere – but a lack of negotiation from the reds has reminded Madrid that Liverpool were serious about their valuation.

It now seems that Real are ready to move to a deal worth either £32M in cash or £22M plus a player, likely to be Wesley Sneijder, the 25 year old Dutch midfielder and current holder of the number 10 shirt at Real.

If the deal comes off, the reds will aim to ease the financial burden on Rafa’s former club Valencia by attempting to bring £20M David Silva to Anfield to bolster the reds attacking options.

After 5 years at Anfield, it seems that Xabi Alonso – finally – is heading out the Anfield exit. Liverpool must ensure proceeds from the sale are used wisely to improve the squad.

Benitez eyes Silva after
Alonso nears exit to Real Madrid

By Rory Smith -

After more than a year of speculation, the saga surrounding Xabi Alonso's future is likely to be concluded by the end of the week, with the 27 year-old Spain international moving to Real Madrid for more than £30 million, Liverpool's asking price.

Real are thought to be unhappy at having to pay a premium for a player of limited commercial appeal, but the club's president, Florentino Perez, knows he will have to succumb to Liverpool's hardball stance to land his first-choice target. On Merseyside, though, thoughts are already turning to adapting to life without their Basque metronome.

Benitez's first act will be to secure the future of Javier Mascherano, despite the Argentina captain being tempted by the prospect of a move to Barcelona.

His manager, though, would not countenance losing both of his central midfielders in a few weeks and he is likely to inform Mascherano that he will be staying on Merseyside. Once the Argentine commits himself to Anfield, negotiations on a new contract are expected to start.

The Spaniard will then begin the more arduous task of replacing Alonso. Armed with the majority of the fee generated by his sale, Benitez is likely to return for David Silva, the Valencia playmaker.

Sylvain Distin, the Portsmouth defender, is another long-term target, though Benitez has ruled out a swap deal for Alonso involving Wesley Sneijder, the Dutch international, whose arrival would have gone some way to softening the blow of losing the former Real Sociedad player. Another central midfielder, though, would remain a priority, with Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez perhaps the most likely option.

Benitez has been tracking the energetic 20 year-old for some time, while he has also been linked with Inter Milan's Esteban Cambiasso, an international team-mate of Mascherano.

The Spaniard is also known to be an admirer of Lee Cattermole, of Wigan, and Liverpool's need to boost their English quotient to meet the Champions League squad quota would make him an attractive proposition, though he may baulk at his £8 million asking price.

Roma brace for
Liverpool offer for Aquilani

Cash-strapped Roma are bracing themselves for a bid from Liverpool for star midfielder Alberto Aquilani.

La Repubblica says Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez sees Aquilani as an ideal replacement for want-away midfield schemer Xabi Alonso.

Roma officials are convinced Liverpool will make their offer either tomorrow or Thursday and know they have little room to maneuver given the club's cashflow problems.

An offer in the region of £18 million from Liverpool will be enough to land Aquilani.

Report: Liverpool eye Cattermole
to replace Alonso or Mascherano

By Chris Myson -

Liverpool are reportedly considering a surprise offer for Wigan Athletic midfielder Lee Cattermole if they end up selling either Xabi Alonso or Javier Mascherano this summer.

The Independent reports that the Reds are covering all bases in case one of their midfield linchpins decides to leave and are setting their sights on Cattermole, who impressed for England’s Under-21 side in the recent European finals in Sweden.

Real Madrid have still not given up on signing Alonso, while European champions Barcelona are still said to be targeting a swoop for Argentina captain Mascherano.

Club boss Rafael Benitez recently insisted the two players are not for sale and were happy at the Anfield club, although the fact he is lining up potential replacements could mean he is yet to rule out a departure for one of the pair.

Cattermole will not be an easy target to land. Sunderland have already had a £7 million offer rejected for the former Middlesbrough player, while new Wigan manager Roberto Martinez had made it clear that the player is in his future plans.

Speaking earlier in the week, he said, "Lee is not for sale. End of story.

“He is a fantastic player, a leader on and off the field, and is central to our plans going forwards. We are not interested in selling him, which was why this offer [from Sunderland] was rejected immediately.

"It is not usually our style to discuss incoming or outgoing transfers until they are completed, but we have made an exception in this case because I feel so strongly about keeping Lee, along with all my best players. He is one of many talented players. Let's forget about this now and move on."

Liverpool, last season’s Premier League runners-up, did unveil one new signing this week after England defender Glen Johnson joined from Portsmouth for a reported fee of £17m.

Benitez ready to sell
Mascherano for right price

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez won't rule out selling Javier Mascherano for the right price.

The Telegraph says sources close to Liverpool believe a £25 million bid from the European champions will be rejected, but Benitez may be tempted to sell should Pep Guardiola return with a £30 million offer.

Reports in Spain and Italy suggest Liverpool may look to Esteban Cambiasso, the Inter Milan midfielder and Mascherano's international team-mate, should either player leave.

Inter are thought to want about £15 million for the player, with Manchester City also believed to be interested.

Prem rivals interested in Valbuena


Liverpool and Wigan are reportedly locked in a battle with 'several' rivals to sign highly-rated Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena.

Valbuena is a target for a host of clubs across Europe as doubts grow over his long-term future at Stade velodrome.

Reports emanating from France have suggested Wigan have tabled a bid for the diminutive midfielder, while the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea have credited with an interest in the player.

Valbuena's agent, Christophe Hutteau has confirmed Wigan have expressed an interest in the 24-year-old, but that the player would prefer a move to a top club in the Premier League with Liverpool also monitoring the skilful midfielder's situation at Marseille.

"Mathieu would very much be interested in playing in England as the Premier League is the best in Europe," Hutteau told Sky Sports.

"Wigan are interested in Mathieu, but I think Mathieu would like to go to a big team in England.

"Liverpool are also interested in Mathieu, but so are teams in Spain, Germany, Italy and Russia.

"I think Mathieu will leave Marseille and I think it is very possible he could play in England this season."

Report: Real Madrid to end
pursuit for Alonso

By Arjun Miglani -

Not for the first time this summer, Real Madrid look set to give up in their chase for a player, namely Xabi Alonso.

According to Sport, Los Merengues are unwilling to pay the €50 million that Liverpool are demanding for the midfielder. Though money is seemingly in plentiful supply at the Bernabeu, Florentino Perez refuses to pay over the odds for any player.

Madrid are willing to go as high as €35m, but Liverpool have made it clear that they will not budge from their asking price.

In recent times, Alonso has been non-comittal about his future, refusing to rule out a move to Real. It remains to be seen whether he will be content to stay content at Anfield, should Los Merengues indeed end their interest.

Reds offered Alonso bait


Liverpool look set to be offered Real Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo as part of a big-money deal to take Xabi Alonso to the Bernabeu.

Reports in Spain suggest big-spending Real will continue their summer recruitment drive by offering cash plus 23-year-old Negredo for Spanish international Alonso.

Negredo made his name following a switch from Real to Almeria in 2007, where he averaged almost a goal every other game over two seasons, and Real have exercised their option to re-sign him.

But Negredo could be set for a quickfire exit if the Reds agree to take him as part of a deal for Alonso.

It is claimed Liverpool would want at least £35m before they would consider selling Alonso, with Real so far believed to have offered £30m for the 27-year-old former Real Sociedad ace.

Barca making £25m
move for Mascherano

By David Anderson - Daily Mirror

Rafa Benitez's transfer plans could be thrown into chaos by a £25million bid from Barcelona for Javier Mascherano.

The Champions League holders are refusing to give up their pursuit of the Liverpool midfielder and are ready to test Benitez's resolve with a concrete offer.

Sources close to the Argentina international say he would be interested in speaking to Barcelona who are willing to hand him a huge pay rise from £25,000-a-week to over £80,000-a-week.

The £25m fee would help finance Benitez's rebuilding work at Anfield, but he can't afford to let Mascherano leave with Xabi Alonso set to join Real Madrid.

The Reds boss will rebuff any bid from Barca, although he may have to hand Mascherano improved terms to keep him happy.

Thor Zakariassen ©