Reds want Spanish duo
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez could be heading back to Spain to make
his first new signing, with midfielder Xabi Alonso and Ruben Baraja on his
The news that skipper Steven Gerrard will be staying at Anfield is a major
boost for Benitez, but he is looking to pair the England international
with another top-class midfielder.
Real Sociedad man Xabi Alonso is thought to be a target for Benitez,
although he seems more likely to sign for Real Madrid.
A move to El Santiago Bernabeu was thought to be done and dusted but a
financial agreement could not be found between the clubs, and the deal has
The player is keen to join the Spanish giants, however, and Spain's dismal
showing in Euro 2004 means that Sociedad may be forced to lower their
valuation of the player.
Benitez would be keen to nip in and swoop for Alonso but he faces a tough
task, while he also has an eye on former club Valencia.
Ruben Baraja was a lynch-pin of his successful side at Estadio Mestalla
with his commanding displays in the middle of the park.
Che officials are resigned to loosing a number of their top stars as their
debts increase despite their Primera Liga and Uefa Cup glory last term.
The 28-year-old is valued at around the £12 million mark, but Benitez
could try and offload some of his Anfield flops as makeweights in any
New Valencia boss Claudio Ranieri may face a tough task in defending their
title next term, as Argentinian stars Pablo Aimar and Roberto Ayala may
also be sold - with Benitez at the head of the queue should they become
closing in on Valencia ace
Newspaper reports today claim that Liverpool are stepping up their
interest in Valencia ace Ruben Baraja.
It is claimed that Benitez wants to sign his former player to help fill
the void if Steven Gerrard is sold to Premiership big spenders Chelsea.
The 28-year-old is said to be up for a move and a fee of around £8million
has been quoted.
A source at Valencia is quoted as saying: "If the right offer comes in, we
will take it. Liverpool seem the ideal club for him and he will fit right
in at Anfield. There are ongoing talks although Benitez is waiting for the
Gerrard affair to be sorted one way or the other before finalising a
Sky Sports News report today that Baraja has said that claims he has been
approached by Liverpool "are true".
It is interesting to note that Baraja and Benitez both have the same
Liverpool want Duff as part of Gerrard deal
Dominic Fifield - The Guardian
Liverpool are increasingly resigned to losing Steven Gerrard to
Chelsea, but will consider sanctioning the midfielder's transfer only if
Damien Duff heads in the opposite direction as part of the deal.
Gerrard returned from Euro 2004 last night with Anfield denying that
agreement had been reached over a British-record £35m transfer. Yet they
are aware that the 24-year-old has decided his future lies at Stamford
Bridge, even though he signed a new four-year contract to inflate his
weekly wage from about £30,000 to nearer £55,000 in November.
Chelsea would double that, having publicly expressed their desire to lure
him, and he is understood to have outlined his intention to move on during
a private meeting with the new Liverpool manager, Rafael Benítez, in
Portugal last week.
Braced for the inevitable backlash from their supporters, Liverpool will
seek to secure Duff's signature to salvage more than just a hefty transfer
fee. The Irish winger has been a long-standing target on Merseyside, with
the former manager Gérard Houllier twice thwarted in his attempts to sign
him from Blackburn.
Duff, whose first season at Chelsea was marred by injuries, has yet to
settle in the capital and Liverpool are confident he would welcome a
return to the north-west.
Though Chelsea would instinctively prefer to retain him, they have bought
the left-sided Dutch international winger Arjen Robben for £12m from PSV
Eindhoven and may be more receptive to including Duff as a makeweight in a
deal to sign Gerrard.
Liverpool remain braced for a formal offer from Chelsea for Gerrard. But
if their interest in Duff is knocked back, they are likely to up their
valuation of Gerrard to nearer £40m in the hope of deflecting Chelsea's
Chelsea's £ 50m
By Christopher Davies - Daily Telegraph
Chelsea are ready to launch an audacious attempt to sign Liverpool
midfielder Steven Gerrard in a deal worth £50 million by offering Damien
Duff and Scott Parker, plus £20 million in cash for the England
Gerrard has spoken in positive terms of a possible move to Stamford
Bridge, sentiments which have been echoed by the new Chelsea manager, Jose
Mourinho, who has been open in his admiration of the player.
Chelsea were alerted when Rick Parry, the Liverpool chief executive,
admitted the club were not certain they could hold on to Gerrard, who has
been frustrated by the Merseysiders' inability to mount a realistic
Having signed Holland winger Arjen Robben from PSV, Republic of Ireland
winger Duff could be deemed surplus to requirements. Duff is believed to
favour a move back to the North-West where he lived when he played for
Blackburn before his £18 million switch to Chelsea last summer.
Liverpool had shown a previous interest in Duff before his move to
£31m move to Chelsea
By Alan Nixon - The People
Steven Gerrard will quit Liverpool for Chelsea in a British record
£31million deal after Euro 2004.
Skipper Gerrard is going to activate a release agreement he has with chief
executive Rick Parry and ask to join Roman Abramovich's super-rich club on
a stunning £35million contract.
Liverpool may take Scott Parker as part of the transfer in a
player-plus-cash swap deal.
Gerrard and supremo Parry came to an arrangement before he signed a new
Anfield deal that he could be sold at his request if the club did not make
'considerable improvement' last season.
That gentleman's agreement will now be used to clear the path for the most
sensational move of recent years. Gerrard will team up with Frank Lampard
and has been promised a regular starting place in Chelsea's all-star
Parry only persuaded Gerrard to sign a new deal on the proviso that he
could go if the side did not pick up ... and fourth place is obviously not
enough in the midfielder's eyes.
"Steven told us he wasn't happy finishing 30 points behind Arsenal,''
Parry said last week.
New Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez flew to Portugal last week for talks
with the player - but he is fighting a losing battle and Gerrard WILL
become a Chelsea player.
The deal will be the biggest in English football history, shattering the
£30million barrier for the first time.
The cost to Manchester United of Rio Ferdinand's move from Leeds was just
Gerrard's camp are telling contacts in the game that the transfer will
definitely happen - and that Chelsea are prepared to pay the fee up front
to ease the pain.The contract on offer for Gerrard is a staggering
£7million-a-year over five seasons, the kind of money to turn anyone's
head - and a promise backed up with the ambition to win the major prizes
at home and abroad.
Liverpool may want to stage-manage Gerrard's exit and ask him to go public
and say why he is leaving - and that they have no option but to sell.
The Anfield fans will be stunned by the news, but their home-grown captain
has just grown fed-up waiting for the club to become serious contenders
for the big prizes.
Parry is prepared to let Benitez launch his own signing spree as a result
of the sale - with moves for some of his old Valencia players.
Benitez wants centre-half Roberto Fabian Ayala and left-winger Vicente
Rodriguez, possibly along with keeper Santiago Canizares.
Spanish Euro 2004 star Vicente is the most readily available but is priced
at around £15million, Ayala is valued at £7million and Canizares about
Midfielder Ruben Baraja, an ideal replacement for Gerrard, may be too
expensive and unwilling to move to Liverpool.
So Benitez is considering taking Gerrard's England understudy Parker as
part of the deal.
Parker only joined Chelsea from Charlton last season and did well but he
is unlikely to get a place at Stamford Bridge next season.
shock Wiltord link
Liverpool are the latest club to be linked with a shock move for former
Arsenal star Sylvain Wiltord, as the Frenchman searches for a new club.
Wiltord is available on a free transfer after seeing out his contract at
Highbury and he is open to offers.
Werder Bremen, Tottenham, Valencia and Barcelona are all believed to be
keen on the French international.
Reports emanating from France claim that Liverpool have entered the race
for his signature.
Newly installed Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is thought to be an admirer
of the former Bordeaux ace and tried to sign him when he was in charge of
Liverpool could be in the market for a new striker, having sold Emile
Heskey, and with Wiltord on a free transfer he could be an attractive
Wiltord is believed to be keen to stay in England and has admitted that he
would be interested in a switch to Tottenham.
Barcelona have switched their attentions to Wiltord, having seemingly lost
out on Juventus ace David Trezeguet, and they will hope to lure him away
from England to Spain.
Rafa chasing former
By Al Campbell - LFC Online
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has been linked with Valencia left
winger Vicente Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who is currently in Portugal playing for Spain, has turned down
the offer of a new contract from Valencia.
Manchester United have had one bid for the player turned down and now his
former boss is rumoured to want to sign the player.
Roman in £30m
bid for Gerrard
By John Cross - Daily Mirror
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will hit Liverpool with a "name your
price" offer for England midfielder Steven Gerrard.
Abramovich has instructed his football fixer, super agent Pini Zahavi, to
land the England star and is ready to break the bank and go above the
£30million domestic transfer record to get his man.
That sort of money would put him beyond the reach of Manchester United.
Gerrard has not formally asked Liverpool for a transfer and at the moment
has no intention of doing so, but Chelsea want to make him an offer
neither he or the Anfield board can refuse.
There has been no formal contact between the two clubs, but Gerrard's camp
have already been sounded out and Chelsea are prepared to offer him a
mind-boggling £125,000 a week to make him the highest paid player of all
their big-money signings.
eye Reds' African flop
St Etienne are prepared to offer Salif Diao an escape route from his
The Senegal midfielder has struggled to establish himself on Anfield since
being signed from Sedan by former Reds manager Gerard Houllier.
Diao barely featured last season but constantly proclaimed his desire to
remain part of the Liverpool set-up.
However, Ligue 1 new boys St Etienne are ready to hand Diao the chance to
resurrect his career back in France.
Recently appointed St Etienne coach Elie Baup is an admirer of Diao's
industrious talent and is believed to be preparing a bid for the
But Baup may have to bide his time before landing Diao as the African
wants to wait to see who is appointed Liverpool's new manager.
Following Houllier's departure last month, The Reds are still to name a
successor with ex-Valencia coach Rafa Benitez favourite to take the
Charlton to make shock bid for striker
Charlton Athletic are preparing a shock £5million bid for PSV Eindhoven
striker Mateja Kezman, claim newspaper reports today.
The highly-rated player looked nailed on to sign for Liverpool in the
summer after months of preparation by former manager Gerard Houllier but
that proposed transfer along with several others appear to have fallen
PSV were keen on taking Milan Baros in some kind of player-exchange deal,
something which Liverpool were not keen to do. They certainly valued
Kezman much higher than £5million so it is unlikely that such a bid would
targets Colombian striker
Newspaper reports today claim that Rafael Benitez will make attempts to
sign Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel during the summer break.
While at Valencia, Benitez was keen to recruit the Colombian which is
obviously why the journos are making the link with ourselves. Contract
talks at Villa appear to have stalled with the player reportedly rejecting
a deal worth £35,000-a-week. It is also claimed that the player is holding
out for around £60,000-a-week.
Because of these contract negotiations you can expect his agent to be
trying to create links to rival clubs like ourselves to put pressure on
Villa to cave into his demands. We're not dismissing the link though
because we know that Benitez does rate the player, we're just pointing out
Angel currently has a knee injury but is expected to be fit for next
month's Copa America.
Blues eye Gerrard move
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard could be ready to consider leaving the
club in a big-money move to millionaires Chelsea, if reports in the press
prove to be correct.
Gerrard is with England preparing for their massive Euro 2004 clash with
France on Sunday, but back home he is being linked with a huge move to
The boyhood Liverpool fan is one of the best midfielders in Europe and
showed that last season by dragging The Reds into the UEFA Champions
League almost singled handed.
Now, a number of reports in the English press indicate that he could be
ready to leave Anfield in search of a better chance of silverware.
Gerrard had always backed former manager Gerard Houllier and it is not
known how badly he took the news of the Frenchman's departure.
Liverpool still do not have a new manager, although it is expected to be
former Valencia boss Rafael Benitez, and he for one would not want his
star player to leave at the start of his reign.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich will stop at nothing to get his side
to the very top and pairing Gerrard with Frank Lampard in midfield would
be a superb coup.
However, Gerrard has always said that he wants to win things with
Liverpool, and is hoping that Michael Owen will follow him in signing a
new deal at Anfield.
£66 million is around the figure being mooted as the price it would cost
Chelsea, but it does seem unlikely that Gerrard would leave the Mereyside
outfit while they are on the verge of appointing a new manager.
Norwich to go with
By Chris Maxwell - LFC Online
Premiership newcomers Norwich City are reported to be interested in
securing of French prodigy Florent Sinama-Pongolle on a year-long loan
Having already brought Arsenal starlet David Bentley to the club for next
season, the Canaries are keen to add the jet-heeled Liverpol striker to a
pacy line-up already including Darren Huckerby.
With Djibril Cisse's £14m arrival now imminent, incoming Reds manager
Rafael Benitez may feel the 20-year-old former Le Havre striker would be
best served gaining experience at Carrow Road.
Reds enter Caneira
Liverpool are the latest club to be linked with Bordeaux defender Marco
Caneira, although Deportivo La Coruna remain favourites for his signature.
The Portuguese ace has attracted the interest of a host of clubs after an
impressive season with Bordeaux.
Deportivo La Coruna, Paris Saint Germain and Newcastle have all expressed
an interest in the 25-year-old with Bordeaux facing a fight to keep hold
Despite having three years to run on his contract with Les Girondins the
club are set to cash in on him in a bid to reduce their financial
Liverpool could be in the market for a new central defender, but any moves
for new players are unlikely to take place until a new manager comes in at
Deportivo see Caneira as an ideal replacement for Moroccan defender
Nourredine Naybet who is coming to the end of his career.
The Spanish side are set to test Bordeaux's resolve with a €4 million bid
for Caneira and they are hopeful of tying up a deal soon.
Meanwhile, Bordeaux have signed Cannes starlet Julien Faubert on a
lead race for Italian ace
Speculation is gaining ground that suggests Liverpool are leading the
race to sign Parma skipper Matteo Ferrari.
The highly-rated 24-year-old defender - who is currently in Portugal
preparing for the European Championships with Italy - is believed to have
received a 5-year offer from an unknown Premiership club and the general
feeling is that it's either ourselves or rivals Manchester United who are
trying to land him.
Ferrari - who is part-owned by Internazionale - looked nailed on to sign
for Roma for £6million but so far nothing has materialised. Reports in
Italy claim that Liverpool are leading the race to sign him.
linked with Liverpool midfielder
Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer has emerged as a possible transfer
target of French outfit Lens after they were alerted that the player is
Southampton have already held talks with Smicer's agent regarding a
possible move but his wage demands were said to be causing a problem.
The Czech international has a year left on his remaining contract and
insists that he wants to stay at Anfield but a return to Lens would
certainly interest him.
Hleb linked with
Stuttgart starlet Alexandr Hleb has expressed his desire to leave the
Swabians this summer as he seeks a new challenge elsewhere.
The 23-year-old Belarus international is tied to the Gottlieb-Daimler
stadium until 2006, but after learning that his mentor Felix Magath has
agreed to join Bayern Munich, the prolific midfielder is keen to end his
spell with Stuttgart.
Clubs from Spain and Italy had already expressed an interest in the tricky
play-maker, but latest comments by Hleb that he would prefer a move to
England, have fuelled rumours in the German press that Premiership outfit
Liverpool are favourites for his signature if they decide to follow up
their initial interest.
Liverpool have been tracking Hleb since last November and the attacking
midfielder admitted he would like to join one of Europe's top clubs.
"I'd like to join one of the real big clubs," Hleb told Kicker.
Reds linked with
Liverpool are being linked with a move for Racing Santander's Israel
international midfielder Yossi Benayoun, according to reports in Spain.
The attacking midfielder has caught the interest of many clubs following
his displays at El Sardinero this term, including the likes of Tottenham.
Benayoun has been a virtual ever-present for Racing this term - making 34
appearances and scoring seven goals for the side who made a bright start
to the campaign.
The 24-year-old is a self-confessed Reds fan, but with Spurs also sending
scouts to run the rule over the in-demand midfielder, the Anfield giants
face competition for his signature.
Should Liverpool appoint former Valencia coach Rafa Benitez to replace
Gerard Houllier as manager Liverpool, their chances of landing Benayoun
would surely increase.
The Israeli star is an expert from dead-ball situations and with yet
another impressive La Liga season under his belt, he is almost certain to
depart Racing this summer.
Benitez targets La
Incoming Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wants to bring Spanish
international goalkeeper Santiago Canizares to Anfield, claim reports
initially originating from Spain.
The 33-year-old Valencia ace - seen by many as the best 'keeper in Spain -
is available for transfer and if signed, his arrival would almost
certainly end Jerzy Dudek's stay at the club. While Chris Kirkland would
be safe, Dudek was always likely to be axed this summer. PSV have shown
interest in him but until the new manager officially begins his role at
the club, he will be unable to leave.
Canizares hasn't agreed a new deal with Valencia despite the fact that his
existing contract will soon expire. Speaking before Benitez resigned, he
said: "I do not see anything nearby with regards to my contract renewal
because there has not been any conversations."