Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Xabi Alonso Sets Deadline To Finalise Move From Liverpool To Real Madrid

Xabi Alonso has reportedly told his agent he wants his future resolved by July 19.

The Liverpool midfielder, who has been on international duty with Spain at the Confederations Cup in South Africa, met his representative Inaki Ibanez immediately after flying back to Madrid yesterday.

Real Madrid hope to sign the 27-year-old, but face a determined effort by Anfield boss Rafael Benitez to keep him.

Alonso went straight to lunch with Ibanez at Madrid's Hotel Melia Barajas after getting off a 10-hour flight from Johannesburg.

The former Real Sociedad player is said to be keen on a move to the Bernabeu and, after the meeting, told Spanish newspaper AS: 'I don't know what will happen. The clubs now have to negotiate.'

Alonso insisted in a separate interview that the transfer 'was not impossible', though the two clubs are some distance apart on a fee.

Madrid are considering a £55million combined bid for Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Alvaro Arbeloa, but are prepared to negotiate players separately as Liverpool are unlikely to even contemplate losing both Alonso and Mascherano.

In a bid to scare off suitors, Benitez has quoted a price-tag of £50m for Alonso, but sources in Spain say the actual valuation coming out of Merseyside is £35m.

Madrid have bid £20m and are reluctant to go above £25m.

However, if Alonso forces the matter, the two sides could quickly converge. Liverpool report for pre-season training on July 6 but Alonso will be given extra time off because of his Spain duty.

He has already moved on to San Sebastian to start vacations but is apparently due to join up with Liverpool on July 19 ahead of their Asia tour.

AS say Alonso is keen for a resolution before then so that he can search for a new home in the Spanish capital.

Alvaro Arbeloa To Complete Switch From Liverpool To Real Madrid This Week

According to a report in the British broadsheet The Independent, Alvaro Arbeloa may move from Premier League outfit Liverpool to Primera Division giants Real Madrid at some point this week.

On Sunday, quotes attributed to the 26-year-old's agent suggested that the player is keen to complete a transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.

It is thought that the 6ft right-back could be available to purchase for as little as €5.9 million (£5m) as his contract at Anfield is due to expire next summer, when he will be available on a free-transfer.

Although Reds manager Rafa Benitez may be reluctant to let the nine-time capped Spain international leave, he has already made a move in the transfer market to bring in a readymade replacement in the form of €20 million (£17m) signing Glen Johnson from Portsmouth.

Since joining the Merseyside-based club from Deportivo La Coruna for €4m (£3.3m) in 2007, Arbeloa has scored twice in 98 first-team appearances.

Juve Revisit Alonso Idea

According to Tuttosport, the Juventus board have given Alessio Secco the all clear to sign Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso.

The Bianconeri tried to buy Alonso last year, only for Claudio Ranieri to turn his attention to Christian Poulsen.

Tuttosport understands Juventus want the 27-year-old Spain international to anchor their midfield so Diego can fully express his talent.

A new bid for Alonso was apparently prepared four days ago as talks with Udinese for Gaetano D'Agostino began to deteriorate.

The Bianconeri face serious competition in the race to sign Alonso, who is being valued at £21m amid interest from Real Madrid.

Juventus will need to sell players if they are to raise enough funds to complete the transfer.

Poulsen is the one of the players who is up for sale.

However, at the weekend he rejected a move to Fenerbahce and insisted he wants to stay in Bianconero.

Reds Must Keep Stars To Win - Torres

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres believes the club have to hang on to the likes of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano if they are to depose Manchester United as Barclays Premier League champions.

The two midfielders are major targets for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively but Torres is in agreement with manager Rafael Benitez that neither should be sold - despite potential offers in excess of £25millon each.

Yesterday Alonso failed to pledge his full commitment to the Merseysiders while Barca president Joan Laporta again hinted they were willing to use Mascherano's international team-mate Lionel Messi to lure the Argentina captain away from Anfield.

The increasing speculation about the two is a concern for Torres, who himself signed an improved contract with the club towards the end of last season.

"I worry about losing my team-mates but if we can keep our best players and bring in some more, we'll be even stronger for next season," he said.

"The important thing is we're getting closer to the title. It's been frustrating for me because three years without a trophy for Liverpool is too long.

"The next one is coming, though - I'm sure of it. Man United have been the strongest team in Europe but they've lost an important player (Real Madrid-bound Cristiano Ronaldo), so maybe it's our time now.

"My ambition is to win trophies with Liverpool. We must win something next season.

"And then, with Spain, it's obvious that the 2010 World Cup is our big challenge. I hope 2009-10 will be a great season for me."

Liverpool Pondering Matias De Federico Move

Liverpool are weighing up a potential move for Argentine sensation Matias De Federico.

The 19-year-old Huracan star is attracting the interest of clubs all around Europe following his impressive performances this season.

Now, according to Sport.co.uk, Rafael Benitez's Reds are seriously considering swooping for the player.

When informed of the interest in him from England, De Federico expressed his admiration for the Premier League.

The young forward said, "I like to watch the English Premier League, it is very fast and I think that it would suit my speed well."

De Federico has already made his senior debut for Argentina, a game he marked by scoring a spectacular opener against Panama.

Real Madrid To Offer Cash Plus Negredo For Liverpool’s Alonso?

Spanish giants Real Madrid are considering using striker Alvaro Negredo - plus a considerable amount of cash - as bait to entice Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez to release midfield playmaker Xabi Alonso. Real have made their interest in Alonso no secret, but Benitez maintains that the Spanish international is not available at any price.

However, with Benitez thought to be searching for new attacking options to provide back-up for Fernando Torres, the Spanish striker may have emerged as a possible target for the Red’s boss.

The 23-year-old has enjoyed two successful seasons with Almeria, scoring 19 league goals for them last season, but Real Madrid are ready to activate the buy-back option included as a condition of his transfer in 2007.

Negredo admits the prospect of a move to Liverpool excites him, stating recently: "To play next to Fernando Torres at Anfield is a dream and any player would accept that. But I prefer to talk about reality and I have not spoken with Rafa Benitez, but I do know that some contact exists between the clubs."

He added: "My future depends on Real Madrid, but I believe that this summer I will be out of Almeria. I am grateful to Almeria because they have given me my chance to play in the Primera Liga.”

"But it is logical that I am interested in playing in the Premier League and especially Liverpool. I believe that playing in England would be a great chance for me as this league is a sensational place for forwards."

Any deal would also include a hefty price tag for Alonso, with straight cash deals of £30-35 million being quoted in the British press.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed a sensational season for Liverpool and managed to stake a claim for a regular place in the Spain midfield, an area of the team boasting an abundance of talent at the moment with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva amongst others.

Kentaro And Pitch To Sell Liverpool Pre-Season Media Rights

Rights agencies Kentaro and Pitch International have agreed a new deal to jointly sell the media rights for four Liverpool FC pre-season friendly matches.

Between July 22 and August 8, Liverpool play the Thai national team in Thailand, the Singapore national team in Singapore, FC Lyn Oslo in Norway, and Atletico Madrid at Anfield.

The rights add to Kentaro's pre-season football portfolio which already includes the Emirates Cup – featuring Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Glasgow Rangers and Paris St Germain – as well as matches involving other top English Premier League teams, including Chelsea and Manchester United.

Torres Not Expecting Villa Buy

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres accepts the club's lack of financial muscle means they are unlikely to be able to compete for star signings like international team-mate David Villa but he believes that will not affect their chances of winning trophies.

The Reds have been linked with the £40million Valencia forward but it seems he is destined to remain in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid vying for his signature.

Torres expressed a wish for Villa to join him at Anfield - he has recommended him and fellow Valencia pair David Silva and Juan Mata to manager Rafael Benitez - but knows it is a distant prospect with Liverpool's transfer fund dwarfed by the Spanish giants and also Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

However, regardless of finances the Spain striker is confident Liverpool can overcome United, whom they came a close second to in last season's Barclays Premier League.

"I don't know about Liverpool's financial situation but I know we don't have the same money as Manchester United or Chelsea,'' he said.

"We're fighting them with less money every season. That's not a problem for us - we're a strong team and we'll win trophies with money or without it.

"The important thing is we're getting closer to the title. It's been frustrating for me because three years without a trophy for Liverpool is too long. The next one is coming, though - I'm sure of it.

"I know Rafa is working hard to bring in good players but I'm pretty sure David Villa will be too expensive for us.

"He is an outstanding striker and if Liverpool could sign anyone, I'd ask for him. He's been in sensational form this season.

"But, to be honest, we have Steven Gerrard playing behind the striker and he scores 20 goals a season, so we don't really need another forward. We just need to keep our best players.''

That may be easier said than done as Real are reportedly planning to sign midfielder Xabi Alonso and defender Alvaro Arbeloa in a £35million swoop with Barcelona eyeing a move for Javier Mascherano despite Benitez putting a £50million price tag on the Argentina captain.

Now Spain's involvement in the Confederations Cup is over Benitez plans talks with Alonso over his future. The Liverpool boss is determined to hold on to his central midfielders and will resist all approaches to sign them.

The speculation is a concern for Torres, who signed an improved deal at Anfield at end of last season and would like to see a number of his Spain team-mates follow suit.

"I worry about losing my team-mates but if we can keep our best players and bring in some more, we'll be even stronger for next season,'' he told ZOO Magazine.

"It'd be fantastic if we play together for many years because Liverpool are the team with the second-most players in the Spain squad.

"It's important for Spanish players to play in the Premier League and Serie A as it makes us more complete footballers.''

Liverpool FC Under Pressure Over Xabi Alonso And Javier Mascherano

The battle for Liverpool FC’s first-choice centre midfielders is set to continue after Real Madrid and Barcelona refused to concede defeat.

Real are keen to lure Xabi Alonso to the Bernabeu while European champions Barcelona believe they can find a place for Javier Mascherano in their treble-winning side.

Liverpool FC boss Rafa Benitez does not want to lose either but the sums being suggested - £30million for Alonso and £25million for Mascherano - may mean some difficult decisions have to be taken at Anfield.

Speculation about the future of Alonso has been rife ever since Liverpool considered selling him last summer to fund the Gareth Barry transfer that never came off.

The Spain midfielder went on to have one of his best seasons for the club but rumours persisted about his unhappiness over his supposed treatment by Benitez.

Benitez plans to have talks with the 27-year-old now Spain’s involvement in the Confederations Cup is over but he may not be able to persuade Alonso to commit himself to the club.

"I don’t close any door in that area, so we’ll see what happens," was the player’s response to questions about his future.

"Last year I was close to joining Juventus, I do not have a defined career plan. It is always good that several clubs want you - it’s better than no-one wanting you - but I can’t do too much about it.

"I know that I have to do my work well and, in the future, I’ll decide what I have to decide."

That is hardly the definitive statement Benitez is looking for and discussions may be difficult as the pair’s relationship is not as friendly as it could be despite their shared nationality.

"My relationship with Benitez is professional, like he has with any other player. I leave it at that - professional," the former Real Sociedad player told Spain’s Don Balon magazine.

Alonso also admitted that while he has settled on Merseyside he still misses some home comforts.

"I’ve already been in England five years and the truth is I have adapted well," he added.

"I am happy here, although from the beginning I have longed for certain things and continue to do so."

Mascherano is equally in demand with Barcelona seemingly not put off by the £50million price tag Benitez put on him to try to ward off the attention of the Champions League winners.

The Catalan club appear to be mounting a charm offensive with Mascherano’s international team-mate Lionel Messi the focal point.

Despite giving defensive midfielder Yaya Toure a new contract Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reiterated his interest in the Argentina captain.

"Mascherano is a close friend of Leo Messi. We will see what happens. He’s a player I like very much," he told icat FM.