Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Riise To Roma?

Reports from the continent claim Roma are preparing to pounce for Liverpool defender John Arne Riise.

The Norwegian left-back is uncertain of his future at Anfield, having fallen out of favour with manager Rafa Benitez over the last two seasons.

With Fabio Aurelio establishing himself as the Reds first choice on the left side of defence, and Andreas Dossena on the verge of joining from Udinese, Riise could well be shown the door this summer.

Many believe the 26-year-old’s fate was sealed during the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea, when he headed into his own net in the first leg and was at fault for Didier Drogba’s winner in the second leg.

Aston Villa and Newcastle have expressed interest in the former Monaco man, but sources in Italy suggest Roma could nip in with a ₤5million bid.

Giallorossi boss Luciano Spalletti is keen strengthen his defensive options ahead of next season, having identified both full-back slots as the team's major weakness.

Liverpool On Verge Of Dossena Signing

Liverpool are on the verge of signing Udinese full-back Andrea Dossena in a £7 million deal, according to the player's agent.

Although nothing has been officially announced as yet, Dossena can almost certainly be considered a Liverpool player according to his agent Federico Pastorello.

The 26-year-old full-back has been linked to the Reds for a long period and, despite a few hiccups in the negotiations with Udinese, he is expected to be playing at Anfield next season.

"Everything is confirmed and we have already exchanged all the documents via fax. The deal is practically done," Pastorello explained to Football Italia.

Udinese are expected to settle on an offer of just over £7 million from Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, with Dossena set to undergo a medical at Anfield on Wednesday afternoon.

Dossena is coming out of an outstanding campaign, where he was one of Serie A’s best full-backs. The left-back made 35 appearances, managing to score two goals and provide many assists for the Zebrette strikers.

However, the former Verona and Treviso player still wasn't able to make Italy boss Roberto Donadoni's Euro 2008 squad and will be hoping that a move to Anfield will boost his international credentials, having only earned one cap to date.

Liverpool boss Benitez has wasted little time setting about his transfer plans for the summer. Right-back Phillipp Degen has already been signed on a free transfer, and the signing of Dossena will ensure that both full-back positions have been strengthened.

Benitez has also made no secret in his desire to land Aston Villa's Gareth Barry this summer and is also reportedly ambitously chasing Ricardo Quaresma of FC Porto and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery.

Gareth Barry Will Cost Liverpool £8m And Peter Crouch

Martin O'Neill wants £8million AND Peter Crouch for Gareth Barry.

That is what the Aston Villa manager will tell Liverpool when they make their improved offer for the England midfield star.

Anfield gaffer Rafa Benitez is poised to make a new bid for Barry after O'Neill dismissed his opening £10million offer, made up of cash and players.

O'Neill is determined to play hardball in the negotiations for his talisman and skipper, who has been at the club for more than a decade, and will only reluctantly let him go if he feels it is a good deal for Villa.

The Ulsterman feels Barry is worth at least £15m, following his best season for club and country, and is prepared to consider Crouch as a makeweight in any transaction.

But O'Neill's £7m valuation of Crouch is way below Benitez's stated asking price of £15m.

Benitez will want much more for the England striker - who is being eyed up by a number of other Premier League managers including Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth - even though he is set to cash in on Xabi Alonso's imminent move to Juventus.

Liverpool are willing to throw Jermaine Pennant into the mix, although O'Neill is reluctant to accept the former Birmingham winger as part of any deal.

Benitez is quietly confident of landing Barry, who linked up so well with Steven Gerrard for England, and O'Neill's bargaining position may not be as strong as he believes.

Barry, 27, has undermined him by admitting he is flattered by Liverpool's interest and that he would like to play in the Champions League.

The midfielder has also refused Villa's offer to make him the best-paid player in their history and could force O'Neill's hand after stating he wants his future resolved quickly.

Rafa Awarded Honorary Doctorate

Rafael Benitez is today being honoured in his homeland with an Honorary Doctorate from the Miguel Hernandez University (Elche) in the province of Alicante.

The Liverpool manager will be joined by his family for the ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

The award is to recognise his stature as a coach and the way he uses scientific methodology in his training sessions.

Also expected to attend the event are celebrities from the world of sport and culture, as well as politicians from the academic field.

Before he receives his award, Benitez will meet up with students currently studying sports sciences at the UMH.

Benitez told "I'm really pleased and proud.

"The award is in recognition of a long career in football. It's not easy to spend so long in one career after you leave university and so I am delighted.

"Of course to have a long career you need the support of your family and the other people behind you on your staff. I've had that and been fortunate that everyone has been working really hard with me."

Manchester City Chief Lined Up As Parry Faces The Axe At Liverpool

The future of Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry looks uncertain after it emerged that his opposite number at Manchester City has been approached about his job.

Last season Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks labelled Parry a failure and called on him to resign. Now the Hicks camp have asked Alistair Mackintosh if he would consider a switch.

With Mackintosh unsettled by life under Thaksin Shinawatra at City, a move to Liverpool would be attractive. The nature of his role at City is unclear after the appointment of executive chairman Gary Cook.

If Parry is to keep his job, he must hope that Hicks loses his power struggle with co-owner George Gillett. Hicks' plan to replace Parry will go through if he can persuade his business partner and former friend to sell his stake in Liverpool.

Mackintosh will be seen as a surprise choice in some quarters but it is understood that Hicks has been impressed by the manner in which the 37-year-old chief executive raised City's profile until the sale of the club to Thaksin by former chairman John Wardle last summer.

With Liverpool due to move to a new stadium in nearby Stanley Park in the coming years, Hicks also feels that Mackintosh's experience in relocating City to the City of Manchester Stadium could be a benefit.