Sunday, June 15, 2008

Villa Admits Reds Interest

Spanish star David Villa has hinted he would like to move to Liverpool, if he heads to England this summer.

The Valencia striker has lit up Euro 2008 with four goals in their opening two group games.

A host of clubs are tracking Villa with Liverpool and Chelsea reported to be heading the queue for the diminutive front-man.

Villa, who has linked up so well with current Reds star Fernando Torres for Spain, admits he would be tempted by the prospect of playing with him on a weekly basis.

"Liverpool and Chelsea are both big clubs with a lot of attraction," he told the News of the World.

Villa also admitted that Liverpool's Spanish coach Rafa Benitez could play a big role in attracting him as he tried to sign him earlier in his career.

"Liverpool have a Spanish coach and I also have a lot of friends there," he said.

"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."

Kuyt Expects “Something Beautiful”

Although Wes Sneijder has claimed the Man of the Match Award in both of the Netherlands’ games in the European Championship final phase so far, Dirk Kuyt has also been outstanding. And he’s looking forward to more of the same as the tournament unfolds.

The past few months have been tough for the Liverpool forward after he lost his father last June. However, he managed to feature in 48 games and score 11 times for The Reds, helping them find their way back into the European Champions League.

The former Utrecht and Feyenoord man was not a key Oranje figure in the European Championship’s qualifying phase, scoring once in six appearances. But that has changed in Austria and Switzerland: Kuyt started both of his national side’s last 16 matches, set up two of their goals against Italy and then netted the opener against France.

“It’s a great feeling to be a part of important moments in a match,” the 27-year-old told website. “But the most beautiful thing is just to win two important games such as these. It gives you a great feeling.”

Kuyt was one of the first new faces Marco van Basten brought into the Oranje squad following his appointment and after his September 3, 2004 debut he’s conjured up 39 caps and eight goals. “I’ve worked very hard to be at my best for this tournament and I’m very happy to have been in the line-up twice. And when I can play an important role by giving assists and scoring goals, then I’m doubly satisfied.”

With one game to spare the Dutch have already won the “Group of death” and they will either play Sweden or Russia in the quarter-finals, avoiding a clash with Spain – at least for now. But could they emulate the success of 20 years ago, when they won the Henri Delaunay trophy?

“We feel it’s possible for us to achieve something beautiful here,” Kuyt says. “We have delivered two excellent performances, but we must now prepare for the next step. We all want to achieve something beautiful here, and I think we can. But we should not look too far ahead yet.”

The Netherlands have grabbed the headlines not only for their showings on the field, but off it as well, as some 50,000 fans have painted the city of Berne in orange. “We are so focused on the matches that it’s hard to imagine how it is for the people that are here to support us,” Kuyt commented. “We really appreciate receiving so much support. We cannot experience all the celebrations, but that’s OK. A lot of people would also love to be standing in our shoes right now.”

Reds Like Look Of Magpie Milner

Newcastle winger James Milner is a reported target for Rafa Benitez, with the Liverpool boss keen to offload Jermaine Pennant in part-exchange.

Milner, 22, has already racked up almost 100 appearances for the Magpies since his £5million switch from Leeds in July 2004.

The hard-working midfielder, who is also interesting Aston Villa, has also been a key member of England's Under-21 side and is understood to be keen on a move to Anfield.

Newcastle are desperate to keep hold of Milner, who netted three times for the Magpies last season, and boss Kevin Keegan has already rejected out-of-hand a swap deal involving former Birmingham winger Pennant.

Midfielder Danny Guthrie, 21, has also been offered to Keegan, but the former England manager has set his sights on striker Peter Crouch.

Crouch, who is high on the hit-list of former club Portsmouth, has numerous admirers, but the £15million price tag is so far proving prohibitive.

Chelsea To Bid £40 Million For Torres

Seemingly undaunted by the player's declaration that he's going nowhere, Chelsea are planning to tempt Liverpool into selling star striker Fernando Torres by offering them £40 million for the Spanish striker, according to the News of the World.

Torres, who scored the opener in Spain’s 2-1 victory over Sweden in Euro 2008 yesterday, enjoyed a stellar first season in English football after signing from Atletico Madrid last July.

Although both Liverpool and Torres have previously stated that the striker is happy to stay at Anfield, Chelsea are thought to believe they can cash in on the current unrest between the Liverpool owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and manager Rafael Benitez, by offering a British record bid that the owners will find difficult to turn down. This in turn could unsettle the youngster.

New Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari is reportedly determined to make the striker his first signing even though he knows it will not be easy. A Chelsea source said: “Scolari is will aware it will be a real battle to try to get Torres out of Liverpool.”

However despite this, Scolari reportedly believes a huge bid may just make the transfer a possibility.

“He’s ready to make the sort of bid that will make even the Americans sit up and take notice” the Chelsea source said before adding, “Obviously he knows that Liverpool don’t want to sell one of their star assets but he still believes he can exploit the troubles and turmoil at Anfield to get his man.”

Torres signed for Liverpool last summer costing the Anfield club somewhere in the region of £21 million. He scored 33 goals in his first season breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record as the most prolific foreign striker in their debut season in the Premier League.

As recently as this week he told the media in no uncertain terms that he was going nowhere and that he was eager to continue with the Reds.

Portsmouth Set To Bid £8million For Peter Crouch

Portsmouth will table an £8million bid for Liverpool striker Peter Crouch within 48 hours.

The lanky England marksman - who was sold by Pompey boss Harry Redknapp to Aston Villa when he took charge at Fratton Park, and later played under him at arch-rivals Southampton - has been at the top of his summer wish-list.

The FA Cup winners will make their move in an attempt to stave off growing interest from, ironically, Villa.

Martin O'Neill is demanding that Crouch is included in a deal that would eventually pave the way for England midfielder Gareth Barry to move to Anfield.

Liverpool have tried to ease the 27-year-old striker's frustrations by offering him a new contract to stay at the club.

But after starting just seven Premier League games last season following the arrival of Fernando Torres, Crouch and his advisers refused to commit his long-term future to the club, prompting Liverpool to put a £15m price tag on his head.

Despite growing interest in Crouch from Pompey's rivals, Redknapp remains in the box seat to land his signature.

Crouch has always credited Redknapp with reviving his career when he was languishing in the Saints reserves.

While his prolific form in front of goal failed to stave off relegation, it paved the way for him to break into the England squad and seal a £7.5m move to Liverpool in the summer of 2005.

Portsmouth also hope to pull off the £4m capture of Manchester City captain Richard Dunne, who last night rejected an improved offer to stay at Eastlands.

Milner Pleads For Toon Exit

Newcastle winger James Milner has reportedly begged manager Kevin Keegan to let him leave for Liverpool.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez is keen to bring the 22-year-old to Anfield, having offered midfielder Danny Guthrie – who spent last season on loan at Bolton – in part exchange.

Aston Villa have already launched a ₤7million bid for the former Leeds youngster, who suffered an injury-ravaged campaign at St James’ Park.

News of the World reports that Keegan is willing to do a deal involving England striker Peter Crouch, who is expected to leave Merseyside after receiving limited opportunities last term.

Benitez also offered up the out-of-favour Jermaine Pennant, but the Magpies boss was not interested in the former Arsenal winger.