Friday, July 18, 2008

West Brom Wait On Carson As Blackburn Linked With Liverpool Keeper

West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Mowbray has disclosed that he is yet to hear from Scott Carson having held talks over a possible transfer for the Liverpool goalkeeper.

The 22-year-old England international, who spent last season on loan at Aston Villa, is expected to leave Anfield this summer as he has already had a chat to Baggies’ rivals Stoke City as well, while fellow Premiership outfit Middlesbrough are also linked.

Blackburn Rovers are also said to be in the frame as doubts mount on Brad Friedel’s future at Ewood Park with Manchester City and Aston Villa linked.

Baggies boss Mowbray, meanwhile, is waiting for the answer from Carson as he prepares the squad for the top-flight football.

"I'd go down the road of saying nothing is done, nothing is agreed," said Mowbray in the Birmingham Mail.

"We've had conversations but we can’t say any more as it may come to nothing more - we don't know.

"There is nothing to comment on at the moment.

"We haven't set a timescale and we may hear no more about it.

"Things will either move along or they won’t”

Mowbray also dismissed the link with Bolton defender Abdoulaye Meite after constant reports claimed that the Ivorian was a top target for the Baggies.

"There's nothing happening there," he added.

"If comments have come out of Bolton then that's disappointing but it's just speculation and no more."

Liverpool Keen To Push Through £20m Deal For Spurs Striker Keane

Liverpool are ready to make an improved bid for Tottenham striker Robbie Keane after failing with an initial offer of Peter Crouch plus £5m.

Eager to avoid a repeat of the protracted Gareth Barry saga, they will table a package that - with add-ons - will match Tottenham's £20m valuation of the Republic of Ireland international.

While their pursuit of Aston Villa midfielder Barry is likely to drag on, Liverpool hope to secure Keane's signature by the start of next week.

Plans for an improved bid came as Spurs boss Juande Ramos gave a clear indication yesterday that he will listen to offers for Keane and Manchester United target Dimitar Berbatov.

Speaking from the club's Spanish training retreat, Ramos said: 'The idea is signing young players and if important offers for older players are made, studying it to see what is best for the club.

'We are talking about two very important players. For the moment they are with us. There are some big clubs who have spent a lot of money over many years and have a certain advantage.'

Reports from Spain suggested United might face competition from Barcelona for £30m-rated Berbatov, having failed with a £20m offer.

Meanwhile, Ramos has denied any interest in Espanyol striker Luis Garcia.

Kuyt: Future's Bright, Future's Red

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt believes the future is bright at Anfield after observing the performance of a host of youngsters during the side’s 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland side FC Lucerne.

Manager Rafa Benitez stated last week that several of the young prodigies would be handed their first-team opportunity to “show (him) what they can do”, and the midweek game saw the likes of Jay Spearing, Emiliano Insua and Damien Plessis feature.

It was, however, the performance of 17-year old forward Daniel Pacheco that caught the eye, the Spaniard slicing open Lucerne’s defence to set up fellow apprentice Lucas Leiva for the opening goal.

The performances caught the eye of Kuyt who believes that the group’s inclusion will aid their development at Anfield.

“The tour is important for everyone to get to know each other but this is also a big chance for the young lads,” the Holland international said.

"They did very well tonight and with a bit more luck we could have had four or five goals."

The 27-year old also admitted that he is relishing the hard-work which lies ahead during pre-season as the squad look to regain their fitness ready for the start of the Premiership in August.

"This was my first day back but the lads have told me they've been working very hard this week,” he added.

"The most important thing at this stage is not the result, it's working hard and making sure we are fit for the season.

"The Swiss league starts next week and Lucerne showed they were ready, so it was a good test."

Leiva Looking For Goals

Liverpool youngster Lucas Leiva has set his sights on the opposition goal as he looks to improve his goal tally during the coming season.

The 21-year old Brazilian, who made his senior international debut last summer, found the net just once last campaign, against Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup.

The player, who has been included in Brazil’s Olympic squad, opened his account for The Reds on Wednesday, albeit in a friendly against Lucerne.

And after a solid debut season at Anfield, the £6.5 million signing from Gremio is looking to take advantage of manager Rafa Benitez’s instruction to push forward as he looks to replicate the goal-scoring prowess he demonstrated in his homeland.

"It's always nice to score a goal, and it was a good goal and a good win for the team, so I'm happy about that," the midfielder said.

"We know we have to work hard in pre-season because we have a long season ahead and we are trying to put the things we are doing in training into practice in the matches.

"The manager has given me more freedom to go forward and that suits because that is my style.

"I think my form and fitness are improving every day even though it has been tiring because pre-season has been hard but I am happy with my goal.

"I am confident that I can score more goals. Last season I got only one but in Brazil I scored quite a few so I have the belief that I can score more for Liverpool."

The player’s midweek goal was set-up by a defence-splitting pass from fellow prodigy Dani Pacheco, the 17-year old Spaniard, and Leiva feels that the pair can play a key role as Liverpool look to mount a serious title bid.

"It was good for us to win because it helps with our confidence but it wasn't vital at this stage,” he added.

"It is more important for us to get our form and our fitness and that is what we are working really hard to do.

"But Andriy's goal gave us the win and it was a very good goal. He did really well to score because he spotted the keeper off his line and chipped him - he will be pleased with that.

"Also, it was a great pass from Pacheco for my goal. He is a very intelligent player and he is getting better and better all the time.

"He is only 17 but I think he has a good future because he is already showing his qualities for Liverpool."

Liverpool Have Option On Hungarian Loanee

The agent of Hungarian goalkeeper Zsolt Poloskei - who has joined Liverpool on loan - claims that the Reds have the option of signing him on a permanent deal.

Tibor Pataky, agent of 17-year-old Zsolt Poloskei, says Liverpool could exercise an option to sign the goalkeeper on a permanent basis.

Poloskei has signed on a one-year loan from Liverpool’s feeder club, MTK Budapest, becoming the fourth youngster from the Hungarian club currently at Anfield.

Krisztian Nemeth, Andras Simon and Peter Gulacsi are already on Merseyside with the Reds.

"Liverpool officials have seen his performances a couple of times in the last two years and spoke highly of him so it was expected that he would get a contract," Pataky told the Hungarian press.

"He arrived at Liverpool with an injury but the club have been confident about their willingness to sign him, after some days Poloskei could begin training. Liverpool have the option to buy the player permanently after one year."

No Stoke Switch For Carson

The Premier League new boys had looked favourites to sign the goalkeeper at the beginning of the week, after having had a reported £4m offer accepted by Liverpool, but evidently negotiations with the player did not have the desired results.

"We can announce that we are no longer pursuing Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson," read an official Stoke statement.

"The club will continue to look to improve the squad and remain hopeful of closing in on several new signings ahead of the Barclays Premier League campaign."

Middlesbrough and West Brom will especially be encouraged by the news, and Liverpool can count on at least equal to Stoke's offer from both of them.

Carson would almost certainly favour a move to Boro, however, as their immediate prospectives as a club are inevitably far greater than his two other suitors, who were both just promoted to the Premier League.

The fringe England international spent last season on loan at Aston Villa, who were eager to make the move permanent until the Reds all-out offensive for Gareth Barry soured the relationship between both clubs.