December - 2004

3012: Anfield may open door for Anelka
3012: Saints poised to move for Liverpool pair
2912: Reds may swoop for Pellegrino
2712: Benitez keen on Aimar
2212: Trio under consideration
2112: PSG linked with Dudek
2012: Liverpool bid £3.5m for Morientes
1612: Benitez 'to launch Morientes bid'
1512: Rafa upping Moro chase
0812: Liverpool linked with Leeds keeper
0512: Cesar rumours linger over Liverpool
0512: Report: Reds prepared to let Kewell leave...
0212: Liverpool eye Campo-Diouf swap
0112: Agent claims Liverpool interest
RUMOURS ARCHIVE              
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January February March

Anfield may open door for Anelka

Liverpool are locked in an increasingly bitter war over the future of Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes, despite the player’s demands to be allowed to move to Anfield.

Anfield boss Rafael Benitez is believed to have increased his bid for the 28 year-old striker to £5m (€7m).

But that still appears to be not enough for the Spanish giants, who want £7m (€10m) before allowing the hitman to leave.

The deadlocked situation has raised the prospect of Manchester City’s Nicolas Anelka being a shock Anfield target.

Sources in France today claim there has been an approach from Liverpool and discussions on a three-year contract have taken place.

Lyon have also entered the race for Morientes and the situation has become increasingly complicated by the fact that Real sacked coach Mariano Garcia Remon today.

New appointment Wanderley Luxemburgo seems likely to want to sign Brazil’s latest striking sensation, Robinho.

That would push Morientes even further down the pecking order, but the appointment of a new manager could delay a decision on the Spanish international, who has been top of Benitez’s shopping lit for weeks.

Benitez’s increased bid and Morientes’ demand that he be allowed to move to Merseyside seem to have been lost on the Madrid powerbrokers.

Liverpool will not pay £7m for Morientes, but may be prepared to give Manchester City £6m for Anelka, who had a short spell at Anfield under Gerard Houllier.

Anelka is only 24 and would be of more immediate benefit to Liverpool because he could play in the Champions League for them.

Liverpool also refuse, point blank, to allow a first option clause on Steven Gerrard to be part of any negotiations for Morientes.

Saints poised to move for Liverpool pair

By David Prior - Daily Post Staff

Southampton are lining up a swoop for out-of-favour Liverpool pair Igor Biscan and Stephane Henchoz.

Saints chairman Rupert Lowe met to discuss the duo with Anfield officials after the club's 1-0 defeat to the Merseysiders on Tuesday.

Harry Redknapp is expecting to have some money to spend in the transfer window with striker James Beattie's imminent departure likely to bring in around £6million.

He is hoping to bring in at least three or four new players to bolster the south coast club's chances in their likely relegation battle, and sees the experienced Anfield duo as ideal targets.

Both Biscan and Henchoz are out of contract at the end of the season and Liverpool may be willing to offload them for a small fee now rather than let them go on a Bosman free next summer.

Depending on interest from other clubs, however, Southampton may even be able to procure the pair for nothing now.

Neither player has enjoyed a fruitful time under Rafael Benitez.

Reds may swoop for Pellegrino

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Rafa Benitez is considering a January swoop for Valencia defender Mauricio Pellegrino.

The Argentinian has been granted a free transfer from the Mestalla club having lost his place under Claudio Ranieri.

Pellegrino was a mainstay in Benitez's title winning side last year. Now 33, any move to Liverpool is likely to be as cover for Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher.

With Swiss veteran Stephane Henchoz likely to leave, probably to Manchester City, in January, Benitez will be short of options at centre-half.

Benitez is still hopeful of signing Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes, but reports of an imminent bid for Pablo Aimar are wide of the mark.

Aimar issued a come and get me plea to his former boss, but Benitez's priority is elsewhere.

Benitez keen on Aimar

By Graeme Bailey - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Claudio Ranieri insists he wants to keep Pablo Aimar, after Liverpool enquired about his availability.

The Argentine star was signed by Reds boss Rafael Benitez during his time with Los Ches.

Now it is understood that Benitez would like to sign Aimar once again.

Aimar is not considered a certain starter for Valencia, having made several appearances from the bench already this season and he is becoming increasingly unsettled.

The Argentine is an undoubted talent and, like so many before him, and no doubt many who will follow, was heralded as the new 'Diego Maradona' upon his arrival in Europe.

He has not fulfilled his full potential so far, but he is still regarded as one of the most dangerous players in the world.

Aimar would no doubt relish the chance to link up with Benitez at Anfield, but even the interest in the Argentine would lead to suggestions about the future of some of Benitez's current squad - particularly captain Steven Gerrard.

However, Ranieri has issued a swift rebuttal of the rumours - insisting he wants Aimar to stay.

"Aimar is a very important player for us and I do not believe that there is a desire to leave Valencia," said Ranieri.

Aimar's representatives, including Gustavo Mascardi, are planning a visit to Valencia to meet with the club's president Juan Bautista Soler.

It is thought that if no assurances are given that Aimar will feature more prominently in the starting XI, then the player will look for a summer move.

Trio under consideration

Kop Talk

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is in the market for another defender according to newspaper reports in England today.

It is claimed that David Cortes, of Real Mallorca and Pablo Ibáñez of Atlético Madrid are under consideration.

Meanwhile Newcastle United winger Lauren Robert is also linked with us again today with the tabloids suggesting that Rafa is interested in signing him on loan until the end of the season.

PSG linked with Dudek

Kop Talk

Reports originating from France claim that Paris Saint Germain are interested in signing Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

The French outfit are under pressure to strengthen in that position and it's no secret that Dudek is unsettled. Lionel Letizi is out of contract in the summer has rejected a new new contract offer while number two Jerome Alonzo is reportedly looking for a move to England.

However Rafael Benitez would prefer it if the Polish international would stay at the club. It's highly unlikely that he would allow Dudek to leave in January.

Liverpool bid £3.5m for Morientes

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool are believed to have tabled a £3.5m bid for Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes.

Boss Rafael Benitez wants Morientes to strengthen his team, with Djibril Cisse out for the season with a broken leg.

BBC Sport understands that Liverpool have been told to double their bid for the 28-year-old Spanish international.

Morientes, who has lost his place at the Bernabeu following the arrival of former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, is also wanted by Monaco.

Liverpool believe Morientes is keen to move to Merseyside and hope a compromise deal of £5m can be agreed.

Morientes said: "To play for Liverpool would please any player and in Rafa Benitez they have a technical coach who I have always appreciated.

"But there are a lot of things to sort out. I haven't spoken directly with Benitez but I know Liverpool want me."

Morientes was the top scorer in last season's Champions League while he was on loan at Monaco.

However, on his return to the Bernabeu he has found himself behind Raul, Ronaldo and Owen in the pecking order.

Morientes was thought to favour a permanent move to Monaco but he admits that now looks unlikely.

"I had a good time in Monaco last season but I have not heard anything from them lately," he said.

"My situation is difficult but Madrid know they must do something about me."

Benitez 'to launch Morientes bid'

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool may launch an £8m January bid for long-time target Fernando Morientes, according to reports.

The Real Madrid striker has been linked with a move to Anfield since the summer and is currently behind Raul, Ronaldo and Michael Owen at the Bernabeu.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is keen to bolster his forward options with Djibril Cisse out until next season.

"If there is an attractive propostition it could be I would be keen to leave," admitted the 28-year-old Morientes.

He added: "Unfortunately, I'm not in control of the situation. I'm under contract to Real and they will make any decisions."

The fee could put Liverpool off a prospective deal but Real are keen to net the cash as they are reported to be preparing a massive summer bid for Inter Milan striker Adriano.

The Reds are currently sixth in the Premiership, 15 points behind leaders Chelsea.

Rafa upping Moro chase

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes is still high on Liverpool's wanted list for January.

Rafa Benitez is desperate to bring in new players during the winter transfer window, especially to bolster his depleted ranks of attackers.

The Reds' 1-1 draw with Portsmouth on Tuesday illustrated the need for more firepower after they missed a host of chances to kill off the game before being stung with a late leveller.

Injuries have not helped the Spanish coach, but it is still apparent that he needs more options, and Morientes continues to be on that list.

Manchester City marksman Nicolas Anelka has been linked with a possible return to Anfield, but Benitez is still keen on Morientes.

The Spain international is spending far too much time warming the Bernabeu bench for his liking, and he wants to leave the Spanish capital.

Florentino Perez knows that 'El Moro' is way down the pecking order, but is reluctant to allow him to leave on the cheap, or on loan.

Morientes spent the season on loan at Monaco last term and would welcome a return, but it now seems as though he would favour The Premiership.

Spanish media sources suggest that Morientes would like to link up with Benitez at Anfield, and that the only sticking point would be the price involved.

Benitez will be assessing his options with the winter transfer window fast approaching, but it seems Morientes is high on his wanted list.

Liverpool linked with Leeds keeper

Fans FC

Scott Carson is a target for Reds boss Rafael Benitez in the January transfer window.

19-year-old Carson broke into the Leeds first team last season and impressed many people with his assured displays despite the Whites poor form.

The England under-21 international has had to play second fiddle to Neil Sullivan during the current campaign and has yet to be offered a contract extension to his current deal which runs out at the end of the season.

Leeds are looking to sell Carson in the January transfer window although they would get compensation for him if he left at the end of the season.

With Jerzy Dudek still keen to leave in order to protect his international place, Carson would be an ideal understudy to Chris Kirkland at Anfield.

Cesar rumours linger over Liverpool

By Rich Middleton - LFC Online

Deportivo La Coruna defender Cesar has been rumoured to be a target for Rafa Benitez

The Spanish defender has admitted that he is tempted by a move to England, and is rumoured to be under the watchful eye of bosses at Anfield and Graeme Souness at St. James Park.

With 18 months left on his contract, Depor are currently in the process of persuading Cesar to sign another contract, but bosses at St James' Park are apparently hopeful of scuppering Depor's plans and bringing the defender to England in the January transfer window.

A move by Liverpool to also attract the defender would then be likely, it is thought.

Cesar said: "My priority is Depor, that's my home, but for any footballer the English league is very attractive. You have confidence in your own ability but anyone would be flattered to know that they are focusing on you for your good displays. Obviously I'm flattered that English teams are looking at me.

He added: "We are in the middle of the season and the truth is that it is not something I'm thinking about, but I'm encouraged by the interest of other teams."

Report: Reds prepared to let Kewell leave on a free

Kop Talk

The Sunday Mirror today claims that Liverpool will consider off-loading Harry Kewell on a free transfer as early as next month in an attempt to get him off the wage bill due to his huge £65,000 per week wages.

Although Kewell has been a flop since his Hollywood-style transfer to Anfield from Elland Road, the club would look to recoup as much money as they could for the Aussie winger if they made him available so letting him leave on a free just wouldn't make sense.

Kewell desperately needs a rest because of his injury problems but as Rafa has a light squad, the chances of that happening just now are extremely unlikely.

Liverpool eye Campo-Diouf swap

Sporting Life

Liverpool are reportedly trying to negotiate a swap deal that would see El-Hadji Diouf join Bolton permanently and Ivan Campo move to Anfield.

Diouf, who has been on loan at The Reebok Stadium since the summer, is serving a three-game ban after admitting spitting at Portsmouth's Arjan de Zeeuw last weekend.

Reds manager Rafael Benitez has already hinted he does not want Diouf back at Anfield in light of his latest indiscretion and given the fact that he has badly underachieved since his £10m move from Lens 18 months ago.

The striker is thought to be available for as little as £500,000, though Benitez is known to be keen on Campo and is considering a cash-plus-player deal which could see Diouf and £600,000 head to The Reebok in exchange for the former Spain international.

The 30-year-old former Real Madrid player is one of the star performers at Bolton and although he operates largely in midfield at The Reebok, Benitez would like Campo to arrive as cover for central defence.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce would be loathe to lose Campo, and would like the player to see out his contract at The Reebok which lasts until 2006.

However, Campo favours a move to Liverpool to play under Benitez and a deal could be struck when the transfer window reopens in January if the Spaniard presses ahead with his desire to move to Anfield.

Liverpool, who have put a striker at the top of their wish-list in January, will have limited funds at their disposal if they push through a loan deal, as expected, for Fernando Morientes.

Therefore a move for Campo would be seen as well within their budget and would give Benitez the cover he requires for Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher.

Agent claims Liverpool interest

Kop Talk

Liverpool have been linked with a possible January move for Bayern Leverkusen's Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Emil Dantchev, the agent of the 23-year-old hitman, claims that Liverpool have made enquiries about the player and that talks about his future will be held following Bayer Leverkusen's UEFA Champions League fixture against Dynamo Kiev next week.

Dantchev said: "The Liverpool interest is not from yesterday (isn't new). Anyway, I have not been informed by Bayer of any offer for my client.

"I have an appointment with the representatives of the club after the Dynamo Kiev match to make a decision on Dimitar's future."

Thor Zakariassen ©