Monday, June 30, 2008

Villa tell Liverpool: Give us £18m for Barry or you can forget him

Liverpool have been told to find an extra £5million or else forget about signing Aston Villa's England midfielder Gareth Barry.
Martin O'Neill has finally put a valuation on his skipper after the midfielder launched a sustained personal attack on his manager.
O'Neill valued the player at £18m after speaking to Villa owner Randy Lerner at length yesterday following Barry stepping up his bid to leave Villa Park. Barry hit out at the lack of urgency at his club, demanding a move to Anfield as he laid into O'Neill for taking on a role as a BBC pundit at the European Championship.
Last night O'Neill said he would not stand in Barry's way as long as Liverpool upped the £13m offer received three weeks ago.
O'Neill said: 'The chairman and myself are surprised at what Gareth has said. Contrary to what he alleges, we desperately want to keep him at Villa Park - and he knows that
'We asked both Gareth and his agent to consider what had been discussed in our meeting, including a variety of options to incentivise the player. 'Gareth returned from England's matches at the beginning of June only to reiterate his intention to join Liverpool.
He told me that directly. 'But Liverpool's valuation of Gareth has come short of our own. We have made our position clear. If Liverpool meet our valuation, Gareth will have his express wish to leave Villa Park granted.'
Barry had played a dangerous game when he said he had reached the point of no return.
He signalled his intentions when he said: 'I want to join Liverpool. There's no going back. It's time for me to move on. I'm desperate to play in the Champions League and that's why I have to leave.
'Villa kept saying they wanted me to stay but I have not heard from the manager for weeks. The last time we spoke was just after England's match in Trinidad at the start of June. And that's it.
'It just made me think that he and the club were saying one thing in public but were not really bothered at all about me in private. What other conclusion can you reach?
'It's seven weeks since the season finished but, while the gaffer's found time to be a pundit for the BBC at Euro 2008, he hasn't found the time to speak to me. But Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has shown how much he wants me at Anfield.
'I'm obviously flattered that someone as successful as Rafa Benitez thinks so highly of me, and that he's not been afraid to put his valuation of me in black and white for Villa and all the world to see.
'But have Villa offered me anything to try to persuade me my future is at Villa Park? Not a thing.'
Whether Benitez has the cash at his disposal to push the deal through is questionable. The trail regarding Xabi Alonso's £16m move to Juventus appears to have gone cold for the time being and, with time running out before players return to their clubs, it may be that Barry has to face the music and return to Villa Park before his deal is concluded.

Boro chief tells Liverpool to forget about trying to sign Stewart Downing - he's staying

Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb has told Rafa Benitez to forget about signing Stewart Downing.
The 22-year-old England international signed a new, five-year deal in February but that has not deterred Liverpool, who are lining up a £12 million offer.
However Lamb said: 'His best years are ahead of him. In fact, we believe Stewart will become one of the best footballers, not just in Britain but in Europe with Middlesbrough

'Stewart's got everything as a player and is playing possibly the best football of his career, both for Middlesbrough and for England, but I don't feel that he is fulfilled his potential yet.
'We were all delighted that Stewart signed a new contract last season. We believe he is happy and settled here. Having said that, we know that Stewart has to achieve all that his talent allows, so the onus is on Middlesbrough to ensure his ambitions are fulfilled here.'

Galatasaray's move for Itandje leaves Liverpool's Carson in limbo

Galatasaray have made a £2million move for Liverpool goalkeeper Charles Itandje — scuppering Scott Carson's chances of a permanent exit from Anfield in the process.
Former French Under-21 international Itandje, who joined Liverpool from Lens last summer, has agreed a three-year contract with the Turkish champions.
Itandje, 25, made only seven appearances last season — none of them in the Premier League — as cover for Pepe Reina but Liverpool now need to bring in a replacement.
Veteran Bordeaux goalkeeper Ulrich Rame, 35, has been mentioned but otherwise Rafa Benitez wants to keep hold of Carson.
Despite interest from Middlesbrough and Stoke to take him on loan, Benitez has made it clear that he will only let Carson leave on a permanent deal — valuing the England international at £6m.
That has prompted Stoke to offer £1m for Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop instead. Roy Keane will reluctantly sell the 25-year-old but wants double that amount. He turned down a £500,000 offer from Leicester last season.
Grant Leadbitter meanwhile has signed a new three-year dealt at the Stadium of Light. The 22-year-old is now Sunderland’s longest serving player and Keane said: ‘He’s got quality and he’s enthusiastic, he’s a good character. He’s developing and maturing well.’

City chase Liverpool defender

Chester City last night approached Liverpool to enquire about the availability of central defender, Godwin Antwi.
The 20-year-old Ghanaian-born player is highly thought of at Anfield, but it is understood that they would be receptive to a temporary loan spell, if the player was agreeable.Antwi, who moved to Spain with his family when he was 14 years of age, played for the Real Zaragoza youth team before being spotted by Paco Herrera, who persuaded him to move to Anfield.The player, who was a member of the Liverpool's FA Youth Cup-winning side in 2006, had a loan spell with Accrington Stanley 18 months ago, before spending a year-long temporary period with Hartlepool United last season.During his time in the North East, he made 27 League One appearances for the Victoria Park club.City manager Simon Davies said last night: "We have spoken to Liverpool and if the player is receptive then we would like to bring him to the Deva Stadium on a season-long temporary loan arrangement."Godwin is an exceptional player and he is just the sort of defender that we are looking for. Hopefully he will see the benefit of joining us for a season and see the temporary move as an integral part of his football progression."

Rafa Benitez set to ring changes at Anfield

MAURICIO PELLEGRINO is poised to return to Anfield as Rafael Benitez attempts to bring Robbie Keane to Merseyside.
Argentinian Pellegrino, 36, who played 12 games for Liverpool in 2005, has been approached by Benitez for a second stint at the club, this time as part of his coaching staff.
Liverpool are also trying to prise Keane, 27, away from Tottenham Hotspur in a swap deal involving Peter Crouch.
Anfield insiders have confirmed that Benitez's interest in the Republic of Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer is genuine, but admit that it could prove difficult to reach an agreement with the north London club.
Keane, who netted 23 goals last season, is a big favourite with the White Hart Lane supporters, who voted him their player of the year having helped inspire Spurs to a Carling Cup victory.
Pellegrino's expected arrival will be part of Benitez's rebuilding of his backroom staff after a couple of high-profile departures.
The Spaniard's partnership with long-time assistant Pako Ayesteran ended last season.
Although the 45-year-old fitness expert's contract at Anfield doesn't officially end until today, he has not been present at Melwood for several months.
Ayesteran, who has been linked with several coaching positions both in England and Europe, also worked with Benitez at Tenerife and Valencia.
Former first team coach Alex Miller also left at the end of the season, to become manager of Japanese club JEF United Chiba, ending his nine-year association with Liverpool, having been brought in by former manager Gerard Houllier as chief European scout.
Benitez has already brought another former Liverpool player and staff member back to the club in Sammy Lee, who has been appointed assistant manager having worked as coach under Houllier. Although Pellegrino, who is back at Valencia as youth team coach, only played 12 games for Liverpool in the second half of the 2004/05 season and was generally considered to have lacked enough pace to adjust to the Premier League game, he was always a big favourite with Benitez. The pair had great success together at the Mestalla - winning two Spanish titles - and Benitez remains adamant that it was Pellegrino's run-outs during his short spell on Merseyside that enabled Sami Hyypia to stay fresh ahead of Liverpool's Champions League final victory.
Meanwhile, Anthony Le Tallec has finally formally ended his Liverpool career by signing for French First Division club Le Mans UC 72.
The 23-year-old, who can operate either as an attacking midfielder or striker, has spent the past four seasons away from Anfield out on loan at St Etienne (2004-05), Sunderland (2005-06), Sochaux (2006-07) and Le Mans (2007-08). Starting his career with Le Harve, Le Tallec impressed former Liverpool manager Houllier at the World Under-17 Championship in 2001 and arrived at Anfield two years later alongside Florent Sinama-Pongolle. However, neither player was able to hold down a regular first team place and Le Tallec made just 17 appearances for Liverpool.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


MANCHESTER CITY have entered the race for Liverpool striker Peter Crouch – but the Anfield club will have to lower their £15m valuation for the player.
New manager at Eastlands Mark Hughes is attracted by the England striker’s recent European experience ahead of City’s Uefa Cup campaign.
Anfield chiefs are still waiting on an official bid following City’s initial enquiry but Hughes will have to fork out an eight-figure fee for the 27-year-old after Portsmouth had a £9m offer rejected.
The substantial funds available to the City manager from Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra are believed to be a major factor in ambitious Hughes’ decision to come to the club from Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers, but despite having the kind of transfer budget which has seen major world stars such as Ronaldinho linked with a move to
Eastlands this summer the Welshman is determined not to pay over the odds for Crouch.
Hughes still faces stiff competition for Crouch’s signature from FA Cup winners Portsmouth.
The Fratton Park outfit are now pursuing Reading’s England international left-back Nicky Shorey but despite having a £9m bid for Crouch knocked back earlier this week, manager Harry Redknapp insists the 6ft 7in frontman remains his number one striking target as he looks to bolster his frontline ahead of the club’s first ever European campaign.

Voronin makes Liverpool pledge

Andrei Voronin is determined to prove his quality for Liverpool Football Club next season. The Ukrainian international had a hit-and-miss debut season on Merseyside following his free transfer from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, but he is eager to make an impression next term. "I think I started not bad," Voronin told LFC magazine. "I played a lot at the beginning and scored a few goals. Obviously the injury was a setback. There are a lot of good players here. It's competitive, so it's difficult to get straight back into the team after an injury. "I'll do my best next season and hopefully I can help the team. I think I still have a lot to show the fans. When I first arrived here I didn't find it easy because I'd lived in Germany for 12 years. "I didn't know the language but I'm gradually getting there. My wife had a baby here and, thank God, everything was okay. So I am getting more and more used to life here everyday. "We are feeling much better than six or seven months ago. We like it here and don't have any problems with life in England or the town - except for the weather!"

Andriy Voronin is relishing the prospect of his second season with Liverpool and has promised supporters that his best is still to come.
The Ukraine international admits that he did not feature as much as he would have liked during his debut campaign at Anfield but insists that he is now happy with life in England and determined to show the club’s supporters just what he can do.
“When I first arrived here I didn’t find it easy because I’d lived in Germany for 12 years,” he said.
“I didn’t know the language but I’m gradually getting there.
“My wife had a baby here and, thank god, everything was okay. So I am getting more and more used to life here everyday.
“We are feeling much better than six or seven months ago. When we have time we go into town. We like it here and don’t have any problems with life in England or the town – except for the weather.”
Voronin feels he made an impressive start to his Liverpool career but added: “Obviously the injury was a setback. There are a lot of good players here. It’s competitive, so it’s difficult to get straight back into the team after an injury.
“I’ll do my best next season and hopefully I can help the team. I think I still have a lot to show the fans.”

Liverpool To Nab Niemi?

Liverpool are reportedly preparing to add Fulham’s Antti Niemi to their goalkeeping stocks this summer…
The Finnish shot-stopper’s future at Craven Cottage appears decidedly uncertain following the arrivals of Mark Schwarzer and David Stockdale from Middlesbrough and Darlington respectively.Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson is keen to rebuild his entire squad over the summer in an attempt to avoid another relegation scrap, meaning the likes of Niemi and fellow keeper Kasey Keller could be on their way.And the English press is claiming that Liverpool are keen to snap up the former Southampton custodian as they continue their search for a reliable understudy to Jose Reina (pictured).French goalkeeper Charles Itandje was been largely disappointing during his first season on Merseyside and may be moved on, while Scott Carson – who spent last term on loan at Aston Villa – is loath to sit on the bench any longer.That would leave only the inexperienced David Martin to cover for Reina, and Reds boss Rafa Benitez is keen to address the situation.The former Valencia coach reportedly had a bid for Birmingham City keeper Maik Taylor rejected recently and so has shifted his gaze to the experienced and Premiership-proven Niemi.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Portsmouth confirm Benayoun and Crouch interest

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed his interest in signing Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun.
The Israeli international, who joined the Reds from West Ham United for £5m last summer, has emerged as a potential target for Pompey, as well as Manchester City, although Redknapp believes that it may be difficult to prise Benayoun away from Anfield.
"Of course I'd like to have someone like Yossi Benayoun," said Redknapp. "He's a top player. I don't know what the chances are of getting him out of Liverpool."
Redknapp once again signalled his interest in Peter Crouch, but believes that the Reds' reported £15m asking-price is too much.
"It's known I like Crouchie too," added the Portsmouth coach. "But it doesn't look like anything is happening there. I think Liverpool want a bit too much money for him.
"If that's the case then we'll move on to the next option."
Portsmouth have had a £9m bid for Peter Crouch turned down, even though the striker has only a year left on his Liverpool contract.
Pompey boss Harry Redknapp wanted to pay £7m up front with the rest in extras and pair up the 27-year-old with his England colleague Jermain Defoe.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Silva To Liverpool?

Valencia star David Silva is being linked with a ₤20million move to the Premiership giants Liverpool.

According to the British daily The Guardian, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is contemplating contacting his former club Valencia and signing the Spanish international .

As you can gauge from his performance in the Euro 2008, he's one of Spains' key players where his dazzling runs make defenders worrying. I think it will be a good buy if Liverpool can secure his services as we need a speedy winger right now.

Ian Rush has backed Ryan Babel to impress next season.

The Liverpool legend expects Babel to put his Euro 2008 injury disappointment behind him and really have an impact at Anfield next season.

"I think Babel will get better and better. It's a shame he's missing the championships because the experience would have done him a world of good," said Rush."I think we'll be looking for him to get more involved next season and play more games. When he runs at defences he's direct and he's a menace. He's big and strong and we'll see progress from Babel if he's back fully fit. "He's had a year now in the Premier League and he knows what it's all about, so hopefully he'll keep getting better."

It must be amazing to be a Liverpool player says Thierry Henry

THIERRY HENRY has once again revealed his admiration for Liverpool supporters after hailing Anfield as his favourite away ground in the world.
The France striker, who was speaking at the launch of Reebok's 'Your move' campaign in Barcelona recently, believes England boasts a number of atmospheric stadiums but insists he has never experienced anywhere with the same passion as on the red half of Merseyside.
"For my first few years at Arsenal we didn't do well there, but we improved," he said
"It's the atmosphere I love. It's unbelievable. I've played in a lot of stadiums but for me there is nothing like playing at Liverpool.
"Nothing can beat Highbury, of course, but playing at Anfield was great. The fans always sing and hold up their scarves before and after the game - whether they have won or lost.
"It must be amazing if you are a Liverpool player."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Riise leaves Reds for Roma

ROMA have completed the signing of Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise for just under £4million (€5m). The Norway international will join the capital club on July 1 on a four-year deal worth £2.2m (€2.8m). The statement continued: “AS Roma will also pay Liverpool Football Club the following sums: €100,000 per season should Roma qualify for the UEFA Champions League in 2009/10 and 2010/11. “Furthermore, Liverpool FC will also receive €75,000 for every 25 official matches the player participates in, up to a maximum of €300,000.” Riise leaves Merseyside after seven seasons with Liverpool, whom he joined from Ligue 1 side Monaco in 2001. The 27-year-old won the Champions League in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006 in his time at Anfield. Riise, noted for his fierce shot and also effective in midfield, was a regular under former manager Gerard Houllier and in the early years of current boss Rafael Benitez’s reign. He established a reputation for spectacular goals, including one after just 45 seconds of the 2005 Carling Cup final against Chelsea and one in the following year’s FA Cup semi-finals, the Blues again the opponents. However, his 2006-07 campaign was overshadowed by an incident involving former team-mate Craig Bellamy at a training campaign in Portugal, for which the Welshman was disciplined. He endured an indifferent 2007-08 campaign, the nadir being when he scored an own goal in the final minute of his side’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Chelsea at Anfield.

David Villa admits interest in Liverpool move

Chelsea face a fight with Real Madrid and Liverpool for the highly-rated Valencia striker David Villa, but they will have to pay 40 million euros - around £32 million.
Villa, 26, admitted yesterday that he could be persuaded to move to England and that while Chelsea interested him, the prospect of teaming up with former Valencia coach Rafael Benitez and Spain strike partner Fernando Torres was an option.

"Liverpool and Chelsea are both big clubs with a lot of attraction," he said before adding, "Liverpool have a Spanish coach and I also have a lot of friends there.
"When Rafa was coach at Valencia and I was at Zaragoza there was contact about me joining Valencia but I couldn't arrive until the year after he left there."
Villa eventually signed for Valencia from Zaragoza in 2005 and has gone on to make 101 appearances for the club, scoring 58 goals.

Liverpool duo Kewell and Riise heading for the exit

AS Roma have entered talks with Liverpool defender John Arne Riise after agreeing a fee with the English club, reports BBC. The Norwegian would cost the Giallorossi about £4.75 million pounds should he join them.
Riise has won a trio of cups since joining Liverpool in 2001. He has helped them to the FA Cup and the League cup and was instrumental in his team’s miraculous run in the Champions League in 2005, when they went on to win the cup on penalties after coming back from a three goal deficit.
However, Riise no longer seems to be first choice left-back since the return to fitness of Fabio Aurelio and he is not willing to stay at the club as a back up.
The other Liverpool player heading for the exit is Harry Kewell. The Australian’s contract runs out this summer and he is free to hold talks with other clubs. Although he is thought to be willing to stay at Liverpool, it is not known whether Rafa Benitez would offer the injury plagues winger another contract. reports that Kewell would be viewed as a replacement for Mancini who looks set to join Inter this summer. The Liverpool winger would welcome a move to AS Roman provided he cannot find any suitable offers in England.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Barry demands Reds move

Gareth Barry has pleaded with Martin O’Neill to let him quit Aston Villa and join Liverpool.
The England midfielder has been heavily linked with a big-money move to Anfield while Kop boss Rafa Benitez has reportedly had two cash-plus-player bids turned down by Villa.
But the transfer moved a step closer as Barry took matters into his own hands and phoned boss O’Neill to demand he be allowed to join The Reds.
Barry’s agent Alex Black told The Sun: “Gareth has spoken to Martin since he returned from England’s game in Trinidad and told him how he feels.
“At this stage of his career Gareth wants to be playing Champions League football and believes this is his chance to do it.”
Barry had previously kept his counsel, but this latest move suggests the player is growing impatient with Villa’s efforts to keep him at the club.
The Midlands side have turned down bids believed to be worth £10 and £12 million and are reportedly holding out for nearer £15 million for their star performer.

‘El Nino’ rubbishes exit talk

Fernando Torres has insists that he has no intention of leaving Anfield for Stamford Bridge. Roman Abramovich is a huge fan of the Spaniard there were reports suggesting that he will pay any amount to get his man. However, Torres is fully commited to Liverpool and has no intention of swapping the Liverpool for any other club.
“I have no intention of leaving,” said Torres to the Offish site.
“We have to focus our energies to give the little step we need to get to the top teams. If we only improve the team a little, we are going to manage to do so.”
“I want to say very clearly that I’m not on the market and it is my desire to continue at Liverpool. I am very happy at Liverpool and want to carry on.”
Liverpool’s Chief Executive Rick Parry also insists that ‘El Nino’ is not for sale.
“Fernando Torres is just not for sale to anyone,” said Parry.
“It is as simple as that, really - he is not going anywhere.” he added

Reds agree £14.2m Alonso sale

Reports on Friday claim Liverpool have now agreed a fee with Italian side Juventus for midfielder Xabi Alonso.
Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport say Liverpool have accepted an €18m (£14.2m) bid and state Juventus have made it clear this is their final bid for the player, as Liverpool were hoping for £16m initially.
The seemingly imminent sale of Alonso paves the way for Liverpool to up their bid for his replacement Gareth Barry, with a £13m bid having been rejected on Wednesday and Villa wanting nearer £20m for their captain.
Villa boss Martin O’Neill spoke about the Barry saga saying “Gareth and I had a little chat when he got back from holiday and he has said he would fancy going to Liverpool. That’s obviously a big setback to us, but the offer from Liverpool is just not acceptable. He was the last person to have the captain’s armband in the last England game - so the offer Liverpool have made is just not acceptable even though they have upped it.”
“I think it might be difficult to keep him because he has more than intimated to me that he fancies going to Liverpool so it’s a big setback to us. It’s very frustrating. We finished sixth and he played a major part in that and it was just looking like we could improve matters, because the club is capable of doing that.”

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mourinho After Gerrard, Again?

News of the World reports that Inter had made the England midfielder a priority target before Mourinho’s arrival, pondering a ₤30million bid before their inquiry into the Reds skipper’s availability was ignored by club and player.The 28-year-old is keen to stay on Merseyside despite the boardroom battles currently raging at Anfield, and despite Liverpool’s continual failure to challenge for the Premier League title.Inter had hoped to capitalise on the Reds’ unrest by quietly monitoring the situation to see if Gerrard might be tiring of the upstairs antics and offering him a way out.During his time at Chelsea, Mourinho twice attempted to sign the boy from Huyton, only to be rejected at the last hour – and the Special One will thus be reluctant to pin his hopes on Gerrard this time around, whether he agrees and move or not.But ‘Stevie G’ is planning to stay with his boyhood club for the long haul, as he hopes to link up with close friend Gareth Barry next season and continue to forge a dynamic attacking partnership with Fernando Torres.

Alonso keen on Juventus move

LIVERPOOL midfielder Xabi Alonso is waiting to hear from Juventus after admitting he would move to Turin.
The Spain international has been closely linked with a switch to the Serie A giants after four seasons at Anfield."I am waiting," Alonso told Gazzetta dello Sport from Spain's Euro 2008 training base in Neustift. "I know that Juve are interested and I also know there has been contact with Liverpool and with my agent. I am really very proud that a club so strong and historic as Juve like me. Juve is a very special club and one that I like."Alonso, 26, whose Anfield contract runs until 2012, said: "After four years in the Liga and four in the Premiership, to play in Italy would be like completing my career.

Dossena joins Liverpool

Udinese fullback Andrea Dossena has become the first Italian international to sign for Liverpool.
The players agent has confirmed that Dossena has passed his medical at Anfield earlier this week and expects the move to be finalised next week.
Speaking exclusively to, Dossena's agent Federico Pastorello revealed his client's delight at signing for Liverpool.
"I understand he is the first Italian international to play for Liverpool - a great opportunity for him and he is really happy," Pastorello revealed.
Dossena is expected to finalise his transfer in the next 48 hours before being unveiled by The Reds next week in a deal believed to be worth around £7million.
"He had his medical on Wednesday and we are just awaiting the formalities of that but we would think everything will be signed very shortly," he continued.
"An agreement between the clubs was hard, but we all found it and everything is now ready."
The 26-year-old had a tremendous campaign with Udinese, which included his debut for Italy, and Pastorello admits Liverpool beat a number of clubs to seal his signature.
"There were many teams interested in him," he confirmed.
"He was the best left-back in Italy last year, arguably along with the boy [Juan]Vargas at Catania.
"So it was natural that there will be interest in the best left-back in Serie A, but to have the chance to work with a coach like Rafa Benitez was something he could not turn down.
"That was an important aspect of his decision and he cannot wait to get started."
Liverpool have paid £7 million to capture the exiciting fullback and he had a clutch of suitors chasing his signature. Dossena earnt rave reviews for his perfomances on the left flank throughout last season and becomes manager Rafa Benetiz’s second signing following the free transfer of the Swiss right back, Philipp Degen from Borussia Dortmund.
The move for Dossena seems to spell the end of John Arne Riise’s Liverpool career after 348 appearances.