Friday, January 25, 2008

Sissoko Deal Done, Official Confirmation On Sunday

Juventus have agreed a deal to sign Momo Sissoko from Liverpool for €13m and the transfer will become official this Sunday, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 23-year-old midfielder has been strongly associated with the Bianconeri for several weeks now, with the only question seemingly being whether he would arrive in Turin this month or in June.

Sissoko will touch down in Turin on Sunday, where he will complete a routine medical, complete the final signature, before flying back to Ghana for the African Cup of Nations, where he is representing his country Mali.

Theoretically Sissoko is already a Juventus player after an agreement was reached yesterday over both a transfer fee and wages.

Juve will pay Liverpool €13m, with €11m being paid immediately, and another €2m after a set number of league and cup appearances.

Sissoko has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract, with an option of an extra year after this. The player will receive a healthy €2.5m a year, which works out at just under €50,000 a week.

Juventus have been desperate to sign a centre midfielder this month following the disastrous performances of Tiago Mendes and Sergio Almiron, who were signed for a combined €22m last summer.

Sissoko had the chance to join the Old Lady last summer but he rejected the transfer in favour of signing a new contract at Liverpool.

This season he has barely featured for the Merseyside-based club, and it seems he has had a change of heart over a move to Italy’s most successful club.

Javier Mascherano Nears Liverpool Exit

Javier Mascherano looks set to leave Liverpool for Italy this summer, according to the player's agent.

Liverpool need to pay £17 million to sign the Argentina international on a permanent deal after the 23-year-old joined on a long-term loan from West Ham last season.

The club's American owners have as yet failed to agree to the deal with the current furore surrounding their own futures at Anfield taking centre stage.

The fee for Mascherano could be paid in installments, but with the January transfer window door nearing a close, the midfielder is edging closer to the exit door.

"Liverpool have not made any offer at all to buy Javier and it is likely that he will go to Italy next season," Mascherano's agent, Walter Tamer said.

Mascherano is eager to stay at Liverpool but if a deal cannot be finalised this month he is likely to become a summer target for Juventus and AC Milan.

His exit would also add to Liverpool's turbulent season which has been hampered by the uncertainty concerning manager Rafa Benitez's future.

The club's American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have been caught up in a transfer row with Benitez and suggested that the Spaniard needs to sell some of his squad players before adding to it.

Benitez has made two signings this month, the £6.5m recruit of defender Martin Skrtel from Zenit St Petersburg, while 16-year-old Alex Cooper has joined from Ross County for £100,000.

Hicks Secures £350m Funds For Liverpool

Tom Hicks will strike a blow for his troubled Liverpool reign by announcing a £350million refinancing deal and unveiling detailed plans for a new stadium at nearby Stanley Park.

After weeks of uncertainty over whether the new funds could be secured and with the deadline for repaying an initial loan for the purchase of the club only a fortnight away, Hicks is convinced he is in a position to confirm a key breakthrough for himself and co-owner George Gillett.

Under the deal, around £190m will be taken on by Kop Investment, the holding company set up by Hicks and Gillett immediately after last year's takeover, rather than the whole amount being added to Liverpool's debt.

The Americans agreed to the split after being lobbied by former chairman David Moores and chief executive Rick Parry, who were anxious to prevent such a burden being placed on club finances.

Their stance was a key reason for completion of the restructuring arrangement taking so long, but the go-ahead from the Royal Bank of Scotland and U.S. investment bank Wachovia is imminent.

While Hicks and Gillett hope the latest development will underline their determination to retain control, there was a further setback for Rafa Benitez ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie with Havant and Waterlooville.

Already reeling from a fourth Barclays Premier League draw in a row, the Liverpool manager has had to add striker Andriy Voronin and defender Alvaro Arbeloa to a lengthening injury list.

Voronin twisted an ankle in training on Wednesday while Arbeloa is facing three weeks on the sidelines after suffering an abdominal strain in Monday's2-2drawwith Aston Villa.

There are also fears that centre back Daniel Agger may not play again this season after heading to Spain for treatment on a persistent metatarsal problem.

Xabi Alonso Falls In Love With Magic Of The FA Cup

Xabi Alonso is fascinated by the fact that a club like Liverpool can face a non-league side in the FA Cup.

Back home in Spain, he says, Havant and Waterlooville would never have their moment in the sun.

“You can only play teams up to two divisions below you,” said the midfielder as the Blue Square South side prepared to visit Anfield in the fourth round on Saturday.

“But this is all part of the glamour and the prestige that the FA Cup has. This is why it is so interesting.

“It is the oldest football competition in history and it means so much to the supporters in this country.

“Every supporter, whether they follow a big or a small club, knows their team will be in it and that is important.”

Liverpool needed a replay before they were able to overcome League One Luton and Alonso insists Havant will be treated with respect.

He told “Hopefully we’ll see some goals but before you score you have to take it step by step.

“You saw against Luton that it took a while to get the first goal. It was longer than expected.

“By reaching this round they deserve as much respect as we gave Aston Villa.

“It’s going to be a dream come true for some of them and it will be interesting.”

Alonso added: “Rafa Benitez always tells us about the opposition players and he won’t change that this time.

“He will briefly show us about the way they play and the players they have.”

Luis Fabiano Linked With Move To Liverpool FC

Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano could be on his way to the Premier League with the Brazil international claiming negotiations with an English club are at an “advanced” stage.

Although he did not name which club he is in talks with, Spanish media have been reporting that Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton are among those interested in signing the in-form hitman.

Luis Fabiano, who is the joint-leading goalscorer in La Liga this season with 13, reportedly told the Brazilian media that the possibility of moving to England was a “great opportunity” for him.

“It is very difficult for me to remain in Sevilla. The negotiations for me to go to England are very advanced. It is my great opportunity,” said the 27-year-old, who joined Sevilla from Porto in 2005.

“I am very happy at Sevilla and in Seville, who are a club and a city which I like very much. But it is my great opportunity and I will do what I think is most appropriate for me.”