Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mancini Interest Is Over

Rafael Benitez today revealed Liverpool’s interest in Roma winger Alessandro Mancini is over, despite claims of a fresh bid from the player’s agent.

Liverpool did show an interest in the Brazilian earlier in the summer, but Benitez opted to sign Ryan Babel instead.

Now, with Mancini negotiating a new deal with the Italian side, his representative is claiming Benitez is still pursuing the 27-year-old.

But Benitez said today: “I was reading stories about Mancini. I can say that Liverpool will not be offering any money for this player.”

There are suspicions the player’s agent is using the Reds to improve terms at the Olympic Stadium.

Benitez and his 25-man squad arrived in Switzerland yesterday.

Youngster Jack Hobbs and Stephen Darby are among those included in the party, as well as all the recent recruits.

Fabio Aurelio is also with the squad and training again, although Benitez says he won’t be able to play for a month as he nears recovery from a ruptured Achilles.

Scott Carson, who enjoyed extra time off due to the Under-21 European Championships, is also back in training.

The manager hopes the documents to allow both Lucas Leiva and Sebastian Leto to feature in the pre-season games will arrive during the course of the week.

The Reds play their first Swiss game against Werder Bremen tomorrow.

My Say: I never thought that Mancini would be good enough to challenge Ryan Babel or Jermaine Pennant for a regular starting place in the Liverpool squad. Should Benitez is interested to look for pacy, nippy winger, look no further than Aiden McGeady who currently plays for Celtic in Scotland.

Liverpool Eye Chiellini Swoop

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini could be on his way to Liverpool after stating that the Bianconeri have neglected him.

The former Italy Under-21 captain claims that he is worried about his future in Serie A and is waiting for club officials to clarify their plans.

“No one has called me or tried to contact me,” he revealed. “They have focused on renewing the contracts of the important players and this is logical.

“However, they haven’t considered the players who gave their all to bring the team back to the First Division. I believe I might risk playing only 30 per cent of next year’s matches and I cannot agree to this.

“I have plenty of opportunities, but I only hope someone will call me to explain what the plan is. Unfortunately no one has done this so far.”

Reports in Italy suggest that Liverpool have offered £5m for the defender, although it is understood that the Old Lady value him at £7m.

The Premiership club is focusing on Chiellini after the deal to bring Manchester United left-back Gabriel Heinze – a former Juventus target – to Anfield stalled.

My personal comment: This left back is highly rated....although some of you might not heard of him before, I actually found him when I was playing Championship Manager 2007. Definately a good investment for the longer term.