Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mascherano: I Want To Leave Liverpool For Juventus

Javier Mascherano has declared that he wants to leave Liverpool, and has spoken about the possibility of a move to Juventus.

The Argentine is undoubtedly one of the best defensive midfielders in world football, however his future at Liverpool is clouded in uncertainty.

Mascherano's contract is owned by the international fund of investors, Media Sports Investments (M.S.I), who are demanding €24m for their client to stay at Liverpool permanently.

The Anfield club's owners Tom Hicks and George Gillet are refusing to pay such a sum, thus making it inevitable that the player will leave the club.

However Mascherano has now admitted himself that he is keen to depart England.

"At Liverpool I have found my home. I am committed and I cannot complain about how the city has accepted me since I came here,” the 23-year-old told an Argentinean radio station.

“However I feel that now the time has come to move on. I would like to leave the Premiership. A move to Juventus? Well I like to travel.”

Mascherano’s agent Walter Tamer fuelled speculation yesterday when he admitted that his client was likely to be playing in Italy next season.

“Liverpool have not made any offer at all to buy Javier and it is likely that he will go to Italy next season," Tamer stated.

Juventus will complete the transfer of Momo Sissoko this Sunday for €13m, and it now seems possible that Mascherano could join him in Turin.

The Bianconeri fans have been bitterly opposed to Sissoko’s transfer, however they are likely to be much more open to the possibility of Mascherano moving.

It remains to be seen if Juve’s sports director Alessio Secco will listen to Mascherano’s hint of a come-and-get-me plea.

Liverpool To Loan Leto Out To River Plate

According to reports from the Argentine press River Plate are on the verge of signing young left sided midfielder Sebastian Leto from Liverpool.

River Plate have announced that Liverpool midfielder Sebastian Leto is just a step away from joining the Buenos Aires club.

The Argentine giants have come to an agreement with the midfielder, and all they now need for the transfer to be complete is Liverpool's approval.

Leto is unable to play in England at the moment, because of a problem with his passport, and he thought that a loan deal with River Plate would be the best option.

Director's from the Argentine club told Telam that they came to an agreement with Leto and his agent, Ricardo Cosentino, for the young left sided midfielder to return to Argentine football.

Leto, who was formerly of Lanus, will be River's fourth new signing of the season, after Sebastian Abreu, Rodrigo Archubi, and Gustavo Cabral.

Reds Unveil New Stadium Plans

Liverpool have unveiled the latest plans for their new stadium on the day that an announcement is expected that co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have completed the £350million refinancing deal which will secure their futures at Anfield.

The under-fire American duo have agreed the financial package which will help repay the near £220million they borrowed to take over the club last March and allow development on the proposed new stadium at Stanley Park to begin.

The club plan to build the 71,000-seat venue close to Anfield in time for the 2011-12 season and unveiled new plans for the stadium today. Hicks said: "HKS has developed a more efficient design that, at the same time, is just as stunning as the original one.

"Liverpool supporters should have high expectations for the future - a premier sporting experience at their new stadium and a winning club on the pitch for years to come."

However, the news of the refinancing deal is likely to be unpopular among fans who demonstrated against the Hicks and Gillett during Monday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa at Anfield.

Hicks in particular is unpopular on Merseyside after making it public knowledge that he sounded out Jurgen Klinsmann about the possibility of replacing current Reds boss Rafael Benitez.

But news of the refinancing deal could effectively end the interest in the club of the investment arm of the Dubai government, Dubai International Capital (DIC).

DIC came close to taking over at Anfield before Hicks and Gillett succeeded last year, but were reportedly set to launch a fresh bid should the Americans wish to put the club back on the market.

Meanwhile, on the field Benitez is hoping his players can use Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie with Havant & Waterlooville to build some confidence.

Four successive draws has seen the Reds drop off the pace in the title race and the Spaniard is hoping for goals against the non-league side.

"Now we have a cup tie with a non-league team, it will be a great occasion for everyone but maybe we can score some goals to give us confidence," he said.

Arsenal Reject Liverpool Move For Theo Walcott

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has turned down Liverpool's request to take Theo Walcott on loan.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, who has been put under growing pressure by a series of disappointing results and a highly publicised fall-out with the club's owners, wanted to bring the striker to Anfield for the remainder of the season.

However, Wenger is unwilling to let the England international leave the Emirates Stadium, even on a temporary basis.

The Frenchman said that he would not be releasing any players on loan during the transfer window because Arsenal were "very short [of players]".

"We have 17 players at the moment, and you could see with the players who were on the bench at Tottenham that they should not have been on the bench there," he said.

Many Premier League managers thought that Arsenal's exit from the Carling Cup at the hands of Tottenham would a prompt an exodus of Arsenal's promising youngsters on loan deals, since Wenger primarily used the competition to blood his less experienced players.

As well as Benitez's interest, Sven-Goran Eriksson was keen to bring Walcott to Manchester City, while Blackburn manager Mark Hughes was also reportedly monitoring the forward's situation.

And outside of the Premier League, Championship club Stoke City were poised to launch an ambitious bid to secure Walcott's services.

Wenger paid a world record fee for a 16-year-old in the 2006 January transfer window when he signed Walcott - a deal that could rise to £12 million.

However, Walcott has so far failed to shine for Arsenal, making just 25 first-team starts over the past two years.

Reds Owners To Go Public Soon

Liverpool's American owners have again delayed an announcement of a successful refinancing deal but an agreement should be made public soon.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are on the verge of sealing a £350million package and had been expected to announce today that it had gone through.

There are no serious hitches however and it is understood the deal is all but signed off, and the announcement will include details of the chosen design for a new stadium at Stanley Park.

Of the £350million, more than £160million will be debt tied to Liverpool and around £190million covered by Hicks and Gillett's guarantees.

The £160million figure includes £105million new cash for the club - £65million to kick-start work on the new stadium, and a further sum of £45million of working capital including money for player acquisitions. The remainder is the existing debt the Americans inherited when they took over the club a year ago.

Hicks and Gillett are insisting however that the other £190million in the refinancing package - to cover their initial cost of buying the club - will not be loaded onto Liverpool.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry and former chairman David Moores, who is still a board member, have made it clear they oppose any of the takeover debt being loaded onto the club.

Now that doubts over the refinancing deal have evaporated, the Americans - particularly Hicks - face a struggle to win back the fans, not to mention manager Rafael Benitez.

Supporters staged protests against the owners at Anfield on Monday night, sparked by Hicks' revelation that he had sounded out Jurgen Klinsmann towards the end of last year as a possible successor for Benitez.

The supporters will also be watching carefully to see what happens to any profits Liverpool make - will they be used to service the club's debt or will a dividend be paid to the Americans' company Kop Holdings to service their debt?

Meanwhile, chances of Dubai Investment Capital (DIC) taking over Liverpool in the near future seem dead in the water.

It is understood Hicks spoke at length to DIC about selling up to them but they were unwilling to match his asking price.