June - 2005

2806: Benitez sets sight on Govou...
2606: Reds make Stelios bid
2606: Reina to join Reds this week
2406: Reds close in on Dutch striker Kuyt
2306: Reds close to Kuijt move
2106: Prem duo eye Tomasson
2106: Liverpool stall on Gerrard contract talks
2006: Mourinho joins Owen race
1906: Owen ready for United move
1806: Gerrard speculation rises in Madrid

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January February Marc

Benitez sets sights on
Govou after transfer frustration

By Ian Doyle - Daily Post

Rafael Benitez is contemplating a move for Lyon forward Sidney Govou as he seeks to bolster his striking options.

The Liverpool manager has grown frustrated at the lack of progress in his attempts to lure attacking targets to Anfield.

Feyenoord's Dirk Kuyt remains the priority, and although the player is keen on a transfer the Dutch club would have to lower their 10million asking price before Liverpool consider making a move.

Peter Crouch is the preferred alternative, but the 6m valuation of the England international by Southampton has proven prohibitive.

It has meant Benitez has started to look elsewhere, with Lyon striker Govou attracting his interest.

The 25-year-old has been told he will be allowed to leave the French club after helping guide them to a fourth successive title last season, scoring eight goals in 36 league games.

And an approach would be sure to tempt Govou, with Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas yesterday saying: "Sid-ney's being won over by the idea of staying, but we gave him the option of leaving after all he'd done for us at the end of last season.

"It's just that he hasn't had any concrete offers yet."

Govou is under contract until 2008, but is facing renewed competition for a place at Lyon with new manager Gerard Houllier having bought John Carew from Valencia at the weekend.

Reds make Stelios bid

By Fotis Voinikas - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool are rumoured to have made a 1.7 million bid for Bolton's Stelios Giannakopoulos.

Reports in Greece are suggesting that a deal is close to completion with a two-year deal on offer for the Greek international.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce is keen to keep his squad together but knows the lure of playing for the European champions would be hard to turn down.

Rafa Benitez has previously been linked with an interest in the 30-year-old, but he is now thought to have stepped-up his pursuit with a firm offer.

The former Olypiakos man is thought to be keen to move to Anfield to return to UEFA Champions League football.

The Trotters have recently captured El-Hadji Diouf from Liverpool and his arrival could pave the way for Stelios to move in the opposite direction.

The Greek press are reporting that an announcement will be made in the coming few days as the transfer is though to be well in advance.

Benitez knows that he needs new recruits for what could be a long season for Liverpool, starting with the defence of their European crown starting in mid-July.

Stelios would bring a wealth of experience with him from his Olypiakos days, along with his Euro 2004 success with Greece.

Perhaps more importantly, Stelios has also proven himself to be more than useful in The Premiership for Bolton.

Reina to join Reds this week

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

Villareal goalkeeper Jose Reina will sign for Liverpool this week in time to be registered for their Champions League qualifying games with TNS.

Reina is expected to officially sign for the Reds on Friday in an 8m deal and should make his Anfield bow against TNS two weeks later.

Reds close in on Dutch striker Kuyt

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool's hopes of landing top striking target Dirk Kuyt have increased significantly.

Sources in Holland claimed the Feyenord striker had travelled to Liverpool to progress negotiations over his dream move to Anfield.

The Reds have been chasing the 29-goal striker for weeks, but the Dutch press reported today that chief executive Rick Parry had begun negotiations with Feyenoord and had actually enjoyed a meal with the player last night.

Nobody from Liverpool was available to comment, but Feyenoord are believed to have already lined up Middlesbrough's Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as a replacement for Kuyt, who has publicly declared he wants to move to the European Champions.

Feyenoord rate Kuyt in the 10m bracket, but the Reds are hoping to persuade the Dutch to accept a player-plus-cash deal.

Reds' boss Rafa Benitez does have an extra 2m at his disposal, after the greatest player Liverpool never had quit Anfield for good last night.

Alou Diarra is the young French international midfielder whom Gerard Houllier brought to Anfield from Bayern Munich in 2002 on a free transfer.

But he failed to play a single game for the Reds, being immediately loaned out Le Havre, then Bastia and finally Lens - whom he has now joined permanently in a four-year deal worth 1.98m to the Reds.

Diarra won his first full French cap last season.

Reds close to Kuijt move

The Dutch Telegraph, "De Telegraaf" have reported that Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuijt is on his way to Liverpool.

Feyenoord have apparently resigned themselves to losing 29 goal man Kuijt, who is top of Rafa Benitez wanted list.

Rick Parry is said to have began negotiations with Feyenoord, and last night had a meal with Kuijt. Earlier in the week the Liverpool Echo also reported that Parry had flown to Holland to thrash out a deal for the player.

The Dutch club value the 24-year old at 15 million euros, although Liverpool would prefer a player and cash (10 million) deal possibly involving Jerzy Dudek and Anthony Le Tallec.

Feyenoord finished 25 points behind champions PSV Eindhoven last season, and without the windfall of Champions League football, they will be forced to sell their prize asset this summer.

De Telegraaf report that Feyenoord will replace Kuijt with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Prem duo eye Tomasson

By Nadia Carminati - Sky Sports

Reports in Italy have suggested that Liverpool and Arsenal are looking to sign Milan striker Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Milan and The Reds fought out an amazing UEFA Champions League final just a month ago, but could now be ready to talk over a proposed transfer.

Carlo Ancelotti could be ready to let the Danish marksman leave San Siro, especially if he concludes his move for Hernan Crespo.

Italian media sources have quoted a sum of around 10 million as the price Milan would look to receive for Tomasson.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez has not yet shown his hand in the transfer market, but he knows he has to strengthen quickly with the defence of their European crown starting in mid-July.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could rival Liverpool for Tomasson's signature, however, with the Frenchman looking for more quality attacking options - especially with proven Champions League ability.

Liverpool stall on Gerrard contract talks

Kop Talk

Newspaper reports today claim that Liverpool FC representatives are stalling on sitting down with Steven Gerrard's agents regarding a new contract, despite public claims to the contrary by both the manager and chief executive.

It continues to be suggested that the club are considering selling the player and that they're waiting for Spanish giants Real Madrid to return with an improved offer for the Liverpool skipper.

Gerard has declared it his wish to remain at Anfield so it would be a controversial decision if Rafa did cash in. Our opinion is that the club would sell but only if they can pressurise Real into paying an inflated price. It really is down to the Spaniards now who will have been told to act fast if they're serious about doing a deal.

While it would be sad to see Gerrard go, it would signal a huge warning to the rest of the squad that unless your heart is 100% in it at all times, you're history.

Rafa's got the balls to do it but will Real return?

Mourinho joins Owen race


Chelsea are ready to scupper Manchester United's attempts to sign striker Michael Owen after failing to lure Samuel Eto'o to
Stamford Bridge.

It had been reported that the England striker was set to join Sir Alex Ferguson's side after resigning himself to being shown the door at Real Madrid, just one year after he arrived at the Bernabeu from Liverpool.

However, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is thought to have turned to the 25-year-old, who has also been linked with former club Liverpool, after missing out on Barcelona striker Eto'o.

Reports suggested that Mourinho had seen a 30m offer for the Cameroon international rejected and will turn to Owen as he looks for a proven Premiership goalscorer, after seeing overseas signings Mateja Kezman and Didier Drogba struggle in the Premiership last season.

Owen ready for United move


Former Liverpool marksman Michael Owen has reportedly revealed he wants to join Manchester United.

The England striker is starting to accept that Real Madrid are ready to sell him after just one season at the Bernabeu, according to The News of the World.

And a source close to the former Liverpool man says Owen, 25, would choose Old Trafford as his preferred destination.

The source said: "It looks like Real are ready to sell. If that is the case, he has a hankering to play for United. He does realise it wouldn't go down too well with the Anfield fans who used to idolise him - but that is something he is prepared to live with.

"He enjoys partnering Wayne Rooney with England and would love to link up with him at club level."

Rumours of United's interest in Owen has been steadily growing in recent weeks, and some media outlets have suggested that Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy could move to Real as part of any move.

Gerrard speculation rises in Madrid

Sporting Life

The Spanish sports press has cranked up speculation that Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard could be set for a big-money move to Real Madrid.

Gerrard, whose profile in Europe has risen spectacularly after leading Liverpool to victory in the Champions League final, could be the latest 'galactico' for Real and their big-spending president Florentino Perez.

The press believes negotiations are already under way between the clubs.

Diario AS report that Liverpool have already decided on a price for the 25-year-old midfielder.

The price is 45 million euros (30million) plus three members of Real Madrid's B team - central defender Alvaro Arbeloa, midfielder Javi Garcia and forward Ruben de la Red.

Both Arbeloa and Garcia have already made their first team debuts with Arbeloa able to cover at either right back or central defence.

However, Madrid's tradition is to wait for the player to admit he wants to move - that would not be easy for the England man who indicated he was staying at the club after winning the Champions League final a month ago.

"Madrid are confident the lad will make the gesture," writes AS columnist Thomas Roncero.

Marca are also optimistic that Gerrard is bound for Spain.

The paper believe that the ongoing contract talks with Gerrard's agent Struan Marshall are a sign that Liverpool are panicking at the prospect of losing their star player and on-field figurehead.

However, they also believe Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez would be willing to let Gerrard move to Madrid in order to finance a programme of team rebuilding.

There is also the question of SFX, who look after Gerrard -the management company have good relations with Real Madrid.

"They are the same company that worked with (David) Beckham and also works with (Michael) Owen and (Jonathan) Woodgate. The three ended up at Real Madrid," claimed Marca.

A photograph of Gerrard shaking hands with Real Madrid midfielder Guti in Ibiza has also fuelled speculation but that was probably a coincidence as the resort is a popular one for Primera Liga footballers.

Guti has claimed he would like to move to the Premiership in order to get regular first-team football.

Thor Zakariassen