Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sir Alex Wants Torres To Be The New Ronaldo

Sir Alex Ferguson is planning an audacious raid on Liverpool for Kop striking hero Fernando Torres.

Armed with the £80 million windfall from Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid, the Manchester United boss is determined to make his own impact in a transfer market which is becoming bloated with money from the big clubs.

Liverpool hitman Torres is the shock target, as Sir Alex knows that a bid of around £40m would have to be seriously considered by United’s title rivals who have severe cash problems.

If Ferguson could pull off the coup, it would be a slap in the face for Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who was involved in a war of words with the Scot during the second half of the season.

Liverpool, who paid £20m to bring Torres from Atletico Madrid, would fight tooth and nail to hang on to the Spaniard but a British transfer record offer would give the Anfield boardroom serious food for thought.

In the meantime, Ferguson will pursue what could turn out to be more realistic targets – Lyon’s French striker Karim Benzema, Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o, Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero, Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery and Valencia’s David Silva.

A £20m deal to take Wigan’s wide right sided player Antonio Valencia to Old Trafford will be finalised in the next few days.

United believe they will lose Carlos Tevez to neighbours Manchester City but are more confident of fighting off the interest in unsettled defender Nemanja Vidic, who is being monitored by Barcelona and AC Milan.

Liverpool Set To Land Javier Saviola

Liverpool hope to be able to wrap up a deal that will see them rescue Javier Saviola from Real Madrid, after the two clubs agreed a fee for the Argentinian striker, according to reports.

Rafa Benitez believes that the 27-year-old could resurrect his career at Anfield by pairing up with Fernando Torres and the Merseyside outfit have held negotiations with Los Merengues.

A deal worth around £5 million (€6m) is believed to have been settled upon, media in Spain and England claim, and an official announcement could be made later this week.

Saviola has had few chances to impress during his two-year stint at the Santiango Bernabeu, after joining the club on a free transfer from Barcelona, and has been told he can leave this summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival has already signalled that he would be shunted even further down the pecking order as the Portuguese star has registered the trademark CR9, Saviola's current shirt number.

Early reports suggested that any deal would include Xabi Alonso, but it is now believed that the clubs are making the transfer of the goalscorer a separate issue.

Benitez is confident that he can draw the best out of the player that was once tipped to be the best young striker in Argentina when he was impressing with River Plate.

Even in his first few seasons at Barcelona, Saviola stood out and scored regularly for the Catalan side before being pushed down the pecking order and eventually loaned out to Monaco and Sevilla.

Liverpool FC Can Take Advantage Of Man Utd Losing Cristiano Ronaldo To Real Madrid

A reason to celebrate or a major blow to the Reds' hopes of knocking Manchester United off their perch next season?

The news that United have accepted a world record bid of £80million from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo has divided opinion among Liverpool fans.

Of course ex-United stars have been queuing up to hail the deal as a masterstroke.

Apparently, the champions no longer need a "petulant" and "egotistical" winger who had become too big for his boots.

Funny, because they didn't seem to mind those qualities when the Portuguese was banging them in from all angles and winning games almost single-handedly in recent seasons.

Anyway, the argument goes, selling Ronaldo has paved the way for Alex Ferguson to embark on a £100million summer spending spree to land Carlos Tevez, Lyon forward Karim Benzema, Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Wigan’s Antonio Valencia.

Pundits have likened the situation to the departure of David Beckham in 2003. After he went to Real Madrid, United blossomed but there is one crucial difference.

Beckham was 28 at the time and his best days were behind him,

Ronaldo is only 24 and yet to reach his peak.

Few neutrals will shed any tears about Ronaldo leaving the Premier League.

His play acting and histrionics made him public enemy number one at most grounds but his contribution to United's success cannot be overlooked.

In 2007/08 he scored 42 goals, topping the previous club record for a midfielder held by George Best, as United won the Premier League and the Champions League.

Inside the last seven months he has been crowned European Player of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year.

This season he was United's top scorer again with 26 goals, taking his tally for United to 118 in 292 appearances.

Ferguson may have cash to splash but they are huge boots to try and fill.

And as United fans have found following the £30million spent on Dimitar Berbatov, big money signings don't always deliver.

Added to the mix is the fact that with United almost £700million in debt and having to shell out over £60million in annual interest payments, there are no guarantees Ferguson will get all that transfer money to spend.

The Glazers have insisted the decision to sell Ronaldo was taken solely by Ferguson but that's some turnaround by a man who last December declared he would not "sell that mob a virus”.

Of course Real Madrid's part in all this also has implications for Liverpool.

The election of new president Florentino Perez has ushered in a return to the 'galacticos' era.

And having shelled out £136million on Kaka and Ronaldo, his next target could be Xabi Alonso with Perez having already admitted he wants to take him to the Bernabeu.

Rafa Benitez has insisted the midfielder is not for sale but any offer upwards of £30million could force a rethink.

Benitez knows his greatest challenge this summer is not attracting star names but keeping his squad together.

Yes, the Reds boss doesn't have much cash to spend but as he admitted this week having come so close to glory this season he knows he just needs to add one or two new faces.

His best bits of business have already been done by getting Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Agger to agree new deals. Liverpool only need to take a small step forward if they are going to win the Premier League next season and the sale of Ronaldo could leave a gaping hole at Old Trafford that the Reds can take full advantage of.

Javier Mascherano Family Anguish

Javier Mascherano’s family anguish is behind his shock threat to quit Liverpool.

In the latest shattering transfer blow to manager Rafa Benitez, the Argentina skipper is considering leaving because his pregnant wife Fernanda has been unable to settle on Merseyside.

She returned to South America with the couple's daughter Lola before the end of last season. And although the 25-year-old midfielder is professionally happy at Anfield, the personal despair at being apart from his family means he feels he has no option but to consider moving on.

He thinks it will be easier for his wife to live in a Spanish-speaking country.

Benitez has insisted the midfielder is not for sale at any price, despite an imminent £30million bid from Barcelona. But the Liverpool boss has a fight on his hands to keep Mascherano given his difficult circumstances.

A Kop source said: "The truth is Javier loves Liverpool and is especially thankful to Rafa for everything he has done for his career in England. But he's facing a huge dilemma because he feels his family might be more settled in Spain. Nothing is certain, but it's true it's a big problem for the club."

With Xabi Alonso also determined to force through a move to La Liga, the spine of the Liverpool team could be ripped apart before the start of next season.

Benitez and Alonso remain on collision course, with the Spanish playmaker likely to try to force through a move after the Confederations Cup.

The only consolation for Benitez is that he could collect more than £50m in transfer fees for the two players - cash he could reinvest in the side.

On the other hand, replacing two world-class central midfielders will not be easy, especially as Liverpool have already missed out on their prime target Gareth Barry.

Benitez has still not given up hope of signing Valencia's David Silva. He has revived his interest in the 23-year-old Spaniard since Carlos Tevez declared his preference for Manchester City over Liverpool.

Micah Richards In Kop Frame

Cash-strapped Liverpool are preparing a £5million move for England Under-21 defender Micah Richards.

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is ready to offload the 20-year-old defender, who burst on to the international stage two years ago.

Hughes wants Portsmouth's Glen Johnson and that would push Richards out of the first-team picture at Eastlands next season. Anfield boss Rafa Benitez, aware of the financial constraints he will have to work under this summer, believes he could pick up a bargain.

Richards has already been capped 11 times and Benitez wants a powerful and versatile defender to strengthen his squad for next season's Premier League title assault.

The right-back's star has fallen since England coach Fabio Capello took over the full national side but Benitez believes he can revive Richards' international career and the player would welcome the move.

Long-term fan Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could also be tempted to make an approach for the England full-back.

Barcelona Urged To Sign Liverpool Midfielder Mascherano By Argentine Coach

Former Argentina international Jorge Solari has heaped glowing praise on Javier Mascherano, describing the Liverpool man as the one of best midfielders his country has produced in the last four decades.

Solari, who founded the Renato Cesarini football club and academy where Mascherano started out, was speaking to Spanish radio station RAC-1 amid media speculation that European champions Barcelona are looking at the 25-year-old as a possible summer signing.

Solari even rates Mascherano as a better all-round midfielder than ex-Real Madrid and AC Milan star Fernando Redondo, who Solari coached while they were both at Tenerife in the early 1990s.

"For me he (Mascherano) is the best central midfielder that has left Argentina in the last 30-40 years," said Solari.

"Even better than Redondo. Javier covers a lot of ground, defends very well, especially one-on-ones, he attacks, he has good technique, he is intelligent and adapts to whatever the coach wants from him."

Liverpool's Alvaro Arbeloa Interests Real Madrid

Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa is the subject of an £8 million bid from Spanish Primera Division giants Real Madrid, according to The Sun.

The Spain international is thought to be next on Madrid president Florentino Perez's transfer shopping list, after the purchase of Brazilian playmaker Kaka and the almost completed deal for Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

It is thought the bid came in just 24 hours after Perez reached an agreement with the Red Devils to sign Ronaldo.

The 26-year-old has become a key member of Benitez's team, and the Spaniard will find it hard to let the defender leave.

But the Reds boss has been told he must sell to raise his own transfer budget and he may be forced to sell Arbeloa if he wishes to complete any summer signings.

Liverpool signed the right-back from Deportivo La Coruna for a fee of £3 million in 2007, but Madrid are confident they can bring the defender back to Spain.

After spending heavily on two attacking options, Madrid are set to rebuild their defence, with Valencia's Raul Albiol also set to become the subject of a bid from the Spanish giants.

It is not known whether Arbeloa would like to move back to his native Spain, but he may be tempted by a big contract offer from Madrid.