3006: Reds want Spanish duo
2706: Liverpool closing in on Valencia ace
2606: Liverpool want Duff as part of Gerrard deal
2406: Gerrard in £50m Gerrard deal
2006: Gerrard in £31m move to Chelsea
1706: Liverpool in shock Wiltord link
1706: Rafa chasing former player?
1706: Roman in £30m bid for Gerrard
1506: St Etienne eye Reds' African flop
1306: Charlton to make shock bid for striker
1306: Benitez targets Colombian striker
1306: Blues eye Gerrard move
0906: Norwich to go with the Flo
0806: Reds enter Caneira chase
0806: Liverpool lead race for Italian ace
0706: Lens linked with Liverpool midfielder
0706: Hleb linked with Liverpool
0406: Reds linked with Israeli ace
0206: Benitez targets La Liga ace
RUMOURS ARCHIVE              
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Reds want Spanish duo

Sky Sports

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 wanted list.

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 stalled.

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 deal.

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 available.

Liverpool closing in on Valencia ace

Kop Talk

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 deal."

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 agent.

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 interest elsewhere.

Chelsea's £ 50m Gerrard bid

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 midfielder.

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 Premiership challenge.

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 Stamford Bridge.

Gerrard in £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 squad.

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 over £29million.

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 £5million.

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.

Liverpool in shock Wiltord link

Sky Sports

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 Valencia.

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 option.

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 player?

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.

St Etienne eye Reds' African flop

Sky Sports

St Etienne are prepared to offer Salif Diao an escape route from his Liverpool misery.

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 27-year-old.

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 Anfield reins.

Charlton to make shock bid for striker

Kop Talk

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 through.

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 be entertained.

Benitez targets Colombian striker

Kop Talk

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 the obvious.

Angel currently has a knee injury but is expected to be fit for next month's Copa America.

Blues eye Gerrard move

Sky Sports

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 Stamford Bridge.

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 the Flo?

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 from Anfield.

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 chase

Sky Sports

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 of him.

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 problems.

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 Anfield.

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 three-year deal.

Liverpool lead race for Italian ace

Kop Talk

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.

Lens linked with Liverpool midfielder

Kop Talk

Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer has emerged as a possible transfer target of French outfit Lens after they were alerted that the player is available.

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 Liverpool

Sky Sports

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 Israeli ace

Sky Sports

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 Liga ace

Kop Talk

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."

Thor Zakariassen ©