Saturday, July 12, 2008

Brazilian Keeper Cavalieri Signs Four-year Deal With Liverpool

Liverpool have clinched the signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri from Palmeiras.

The 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract with the Barclays Premier League club and will begin life at Anfield as understudy to Jose Reina.

Cavalieri becomes the third Brazilian at the club alongside Lucas and Fabio Aurelio and is manager Rafael Benitez's third major signing of the summer following the arrivals of full-backs Philipp Degen and Andrea Dossena.

Cavalieri, who also holds an Italian passport, fully accepted he would play second fiddle to Spain international Reina after joining the Reds.

'I know it won't be easy to get into the team,' he said.

'I watched some Liverpool games in both the Premier League and Champions League last year and I know Pepe (Reina) is a very good goalkeeper. But everyone has to fight for their place and I'm sure we will have a healthy rivalry.

'I know I will have to be patient and work very hard to achieve my aims - but it is always like that when you come from another country.

'You have to adapt inside and outside of the pitch and get used to the way things work. But with hard work you get there.

'My confidence has got me where I am today and maybe people are aware of whatI did at Palmeiras in Brazil.

'I am sure that one day I can get the number one position but that will only come with hard work.'

Despite the prospect of spending much of the coming season on the bench, Cavalieri, who is thought to have cost the club around £3million, hailed a 'dream' move to Merseyside.

'"The name Liverpool is known all around the world. It's an honour to wear this shirt' he added.

'It was a dream for me to come to Europe, though I was taken aback by how quickly everything happened. It's all been sorted out in one week.

'But I have been given a very good welcome from my team-mates and the manager, so I'm very happy to be here. I just hope I can respond to all this.

'Rafa and I spoke for a long time on the day I arrived. He explained to me how the football is here and the differences from Brazil. He also talked to me about the responsibilities of representing a club like Liverpool.'

Benitez Tells Anfield Faithful: Trust me - I Have To Sell To Buy But I Will Get Things Right For You

Rafael Benitez has called for Liverpool fans to 'trust him' as he works in the transfer market to improve the Anfield squad.

Liverpool are also toiling to conclude the frustrating, summer-long transfer saga over Gareth Barry's arrival at the club but there is now no chance that the midfielder will be signed in time for the club's first pre-season friendly.

Liverpool face Tranmere in front of a 15,000 sell-out crowd at Prenton Park tomorrow before heading off to their Swiss training camp and three more friendlies while they are there.

Benitez's fear now is that Barry - banned from Aston Villa's training ground - could miss as much as two weeks of vital pre-season training.

That situation could even cause them to doubt further the size of the transfer fee for the England midfielder.

And that would underline further Benitez's cash-flow problems. He said: 'We know the situation regarding what we can spend, and we are trying to find solutions if we do not have enough money.

'And we will still try to sign players that will make us better. But if you do not have too much money, and that is clear, we will have to have a little bit of imagination to progress in the market.

'Everyone knows what our ideas are and what players we want. We are working hard with different names now.

'We know we will have to sell some players if we want some cash. So we have to do that.

'Our aim is to bring through young players and that can save us money, money that we can spend on big names.

'We have a fantastic group of young players, in the future they will save us money. At the moment we have to still by big names and the only way to do that is to sell players.

'The fans must trust us, we are working hard during the summer with a lot of people in different countries working for us.'

Benitez claimed he does not have to sell Xabi Alonso to finance the Barry deal, and will have one or two new strikers in before the season starts.

David Villa looks out of the club's current price range, but Benitez has admitted there has been contact with Tottenham over Robbie Keane.

'Villa is one of the players on our list, but at this moment I do not see it being an option for us.

'Keane is also one of the names we are interested in, and we are still working on other possible situations.

'There has been some contact (over Keane) but we will have to see how things progress.'

The Spaniard has raised £15m from the sales of Peter Crouch and John Arne Riise, and has brought in defenders Philipp Degen, Andrea Dossena and goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri.

Benitez hopes that Steven Gerrard, Andriy Voronin, Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel will figure at Prenton Park.

Liverpool Confident They Can Capture Keane Because Spurs Need Funds To Bag Bentley

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is putting pressure on Spurs to sell Robbie Keane because he believes they need money to buy Blackburn's David Bentley.

Tottenham have insisted that they have no intention of selling their vice-captain, who is valued at £20million.

But Benitez knows Spurs have so far baulked at the £17m asking price for former Arsenal star Bentley.

The sale of Berbatov could finance the move but Tottenham have not had any serious offers for the Bulgarian despite rumours that Manchester United remain interested.

Yesterday's news that they are about to complete the signing of Espanyol's Luis Garcia, who plays in a similar position to the Republic of Ireland international, has given Benitez hope that they may allowKeane to join a team he has supported since childhood.

The Liverpool manager confirmed yesterday that he wants the striker, having ruled out a move for Valencia's Euro 2008 hero David Villa, and revealed Liverpool have been in contact with Spurs.

That refers to an enquiry he made a couple weeks ago which was swiftly rebuffed by the north London club.

Benitez added yesterday: 'Keane is clearly a player that has game intelligence and we are looking for players who can fit into our systems and improve the team.'

By making their intentions known, Liverpool are confident they can force the issue as Keane has often spoken of his desire to play there.

It is a tactic that has worked with Gareth Barry, who has since demanded that Aston Villa allow him to go to Benitez's side, although an agreement has yet to be reached.

Spurs insist that Keane has not handed in a transfer request or is up for sale, but that won't stop Benitez from planning on pairing him with Fernando Torres up front.

Head coach Juande Ramos is still looking to sign a central defender and defensive midfielder and, though he is planning a mass clear-out, many of the players available won't generate too much money.

Newcastle Agree Fee With Liverpool For Guthrie

Newcastle's spending capabilities were further highlighted when they captured young Liverpool midfielder Danny Guthrie for £2million.

The 21-year-old, who spent last season at Bolton on loan, becomes Kevin Keegan’ s second signing after Jonas Gutierrez bought out his contact at Real Mallorca before concluding his own move to St James’ Park last week.

Kevin Keegan was dismayed at the amount he was told he could spend by owner Mike Ashley, believed to be in the region of £20 million, and desperately needs to add bodies to one of the smallest squads in the Barclays Premier League.

He has been forced to re-evaluate his plans and was alerted to Guthrie’s availability when he was offered the player when Rafa Benitez enquired about James Milner earlier in the summer.

Keegan, who is ready to offer Derek Fazackerly a role on his coaching staff, is facing another fight to keep volatile French midfielder Charles N’Zogbia.

N’Zogbia was unhappy for the majority of last season and has confirmed he wants to move to the capital.

'At the end of last season I didn't play a lot, so that has given me desire to play somewhere else,' he said. 'When I will talk with the coach it will be clearer. My priority is to play. I have dreamt about Arsenal since I was kid. I would be delighted to join them. It is a famous team that has big coverage in France, but Tottenham is exciting too.

'I have never played in Ligue 1. That could be an experience in my career, but frankly, it is not my current priority. I am playing in one of the best leagues in the world, and I feel a little like at home here.'

Newcastle team-mate Shay Given has curbed talk of his possible move to the Emirates Stadium.

'I don’t know where the story came from,' he said. 'I’ve said all along that I’m extremely happy living and playing here in Newcastle.

'I want to help to move this club forward and hopefully we’ll get new players in and strengthen the squad. We want to get this place going.'

Ashley meanwhile has reiterated his desire to have outside investment in the club he bought 13 months ago.

'It would be very useful if we had some multi-billionaire partners that wanted a stake in Newcastle United' he said. 'It would help but Newcastle United is not a thing you would make a profit on.'

Benitez Likely To Give Chance To New Players As Liverpool's Pre-season Campaign Begins

Rafael Benitez will give his supporting cast the chance to shine tomorrow in Liverpool's first pre-season friendly.

They travel across the Mersey to face neighbours Tranmere in a 15,000 sell-out match at Prenton Park.

Benitez cannot call on his Spanish contingent of Fernando Torres, Jose Reina, Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa who are all still on holiday after their Euro 2008 triumph.

And skipper Steven Gerrard has only just returned to training after being given an extended break following his summer matches with England.

Benitez is likely to give debuts to new signings Philipp Degen and Andrea Dossena, who were only unveiled at Anfield yesterday.

He said: 'We will field the players we have been working with this week, their commitment has been fantastic.'

Benitez is expected to also use Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel during the match, with the likelihood of a different eleven playing in each half.

Benitez added: "Our aim is to bring through young players and that can save us money, money that we can eventually spend on big names.

'We have a fantastic group of young players, in the future they will save us money. At the moment we have to still buy big names and the only way to do that is to sell players.'

Liverpool will leave for their Swiss training camp on Sunday, and they will play games against Lucern on Wednesday and Wisla Krakow next Saturday.

They will also travel to face Hertha Berlin on July 22 before returning to the UK to face Rangers in Glasgow on July 26.

Peter Crouch Completes Portsmouth Move

Striker Peter Crouch has finally completed his move from Liverpool to Portsmouth, signing a four-year contract with the FA Cup holders.

The deal, which could be worth up to £11 million, sees the 27-year-old return to Portsmouth six years after leaving the south coast club.

Crouch jumped at the chance of regular first-team football having struggled to establish himself in Liverpool's starting side.

Crouch, who will work with Harry Redknapp for the third time in his career, said: "It's fantastic to be back. I believe Harry gets the best out of me and think the best years of my career can be here. This club is going places and they can match my ambitions.

"The chance of regular first team football was part of the appeal. I know I'll have to work hard to prove myself in training, but I believe my best years are in front of me."

Crouch is convinced Portsmouth can break into the top four in the next four years.

"This is an ambitious club," he said. "It's getting a new stadium and it's going places. The squad and the team is in place to challenge.

"This year, coming on the back of winning the FA Cup, we might be able to improve our league form. There's a nucleus of clubs just behind the big four where we are at the moment and I think we can get to the top of that queue.

"I've signed for four years and hopefully beyond that. I certainly believe within that time frame we can get into that top four."

Portsmouth manager Redknapp, whose team will this season compete in the Uefa Cup for the very first time, said: "Bringing a player like Peter here shows how far we have come and how far we can go. I'm delighted he's back.

"I never expected to see him back here. He went off to Liverpool and did a fantastic job in my opinion and I'm looking forward to seeing him and Jermain Defoe up front - a big one and a little one - and we've got other good forwards here."

Crouch, who scored 40 goals in 135 appearances for Liverpool, began his professional career as a trainee at Tottenham before spells at QPR, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton before joining Liverpool.