Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fernando Torres: Manchester City's Mega Spending Could See Them Rival Liverpool

Manchester City's continued policy of investment, funded by the Abu Dhabi-based business group owners, is sure to reap rewards and see the club propelled to domestic competitiveness in the Premier League and the cups, according to Liverpool and Spain striker Fernando Torres.

"Manchester City are putting together a strong team with good signings. Manchester United have yet to sign players with the money they received from the sale of Ronaldo, but he will be sorely missed along with Carlos Tevez.

"We will have to wait and see which players they bring in. I’m sure that Manchester United and Chelsea will be our main rivals but you can’t leave Arsenal or Manchester City out of the equation," Torres claimed, alluding to the fact that Mark Hughes' side will be the team most likely to spoil the top four's monopoly on the Champions League places.

"We are going to set our sights on the title, and this time we are going to try and be more clinical at home against the so-called weaker teams. Last season they caused us some grief at Anfield," Torres, who recently helped Spain to a disappointing third spot in the Confederations Cup, concluded.

Manchester City have signed Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz, and Stuart Taylor, but are also in the market for Carlos Tevez, and Samuel Eto'o.

Dossena Happy In Liverpool

Italy international Andrea Dossena is happy in Liverpool and is no longer looking to return to his homeland, the player’s agent revealed.

The former Udinese full-back has been sending mixed signals to the Press. First he claimed he wanted to stay in the Premier League and then offered himself to Juventus, before changing his mind again.

“Juve are on standby at the moment. They are making their mind up,” said agent Roberto La Florio.

“It seems like their first target is a midfielder and all their budget will be going towards that signing.

“We are happy to stay at Anfield. There is no problem at all. I believe the Bianconeri won’t be buying either Andrea or Fabio Grosso. They will probably bank on Paolo De Ceglie and Cristian Molinaro.”

While Dossena is willing to take his chances at his current club, Liverpool would be more than willing to offload him.

The Reds have been looking for potential buyers but there seems no-one around willing to spend what they paid less than 12 months ago. Rafael Benitez could also consider reducing the player’s price tag although selling Dossena still wouldn’t be easy for the Spaniard.

Dossena was part of the Italy squad at the Confederations Cup. The Italian scored an infamous own goal against Brazil and reports suggest that could have been his last appearance with the Azzurri shirt while Marcello Lippi is in charge.

Barcelona To Offer Liverpool €30m For Javier Mascherano

Various reports in Spain appear to be hinting that Barcelona are growing impatient at their lack of activity in the summer transfer period.

Following rumours yesterday that Spain’s treble champions are on the verge of signing Keirrison from Palmeiras, AS is now reporting that the Barca hierarchy are about to send off a fax, if they haven’t already done so, to Liverpool with an “irresistible offer” for Javier Mascherano. It is believed that the offer could reach or even exceed €30 million.

The bid may instantly wipe out almost all off Barcelona’s transfer budget for this summer, but the Blaugrana are aware that if they successfully sign the Argentine national team captain, then bitter enemies Real Madrid would stand no chance of acquiring Xabi Alonso.

It is understood that Liverpool’s new managing director, Christian Purslow, has received strict orders not to sell both the team’s central midfielders, meaning it will be first come, first served between Real and Barca.

On the other hand, it could also be seen as a way for AS to push Madrid towards making an immediate offer for Alonso before the Catalan giants, or any other team, snap up Mascherano.

Ibrahim Afellay: £9M Dazzling Dutchman On Rafa’s Liverpool Hitlist

Press reports suggest a number of Serie A’s biggest clubs are vying for the signature of PSV’s attacking midfielder Ibrahim Afellay this summer alongside Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool.

The talented 23-year-old has also been linked to a number of Premier League clubs in the past with Arsenal thought to be very keen although the arrival of Andrey Arshavin seems to have ended that interest. There are a number of English clubs looking to add more width to their teams and Afellay could prove to be an excellent signing for those clubs.

The PSV star was born in Utrecht but is of Moroccan descent and came through the ranks at his present club. Afellay made his PSV debut in the 2003/04 season as a 17-year-old but has since become one of the stars of the Dutch giants. In fact, apart from his debut season, the young star has played his part in 4 successive Dutch title wins but hopes of a 5th ended when AZ finished top.

Despite his superb winning record, a poor season for PSV seems destined to result in the sale of at least one of their star players as the club languished in 4th place, a staggering 15 points behind newly crowned champions AZ. PSV may have struggled but Afellay certainly didn’t. Last season he enjoyed his most productive season yet with an impressive 13 goals in 28 league appearances (27 starts).

Despite his age, Afellay has now made 111 League appearances for the club and scored 25 goals. Only 7 players have scored more league goals than the youngster this season which has prompted the attention of a number of Italian clubs. These reports were recently highlighted by FIFA agent and expert on the Dutch transfer market, Alberto Faccini, who revealed in an interview with, “Regarding Afellay to Inter or Lazio I don’t know anything, only what I’ve read in the news”

“For him, Fiorentina is a likely option in the event he were to arrive in Italy. He’s a very good player, but not cheap.”

“He is an interesting option for team who are looking for this type of player.”

The PSV midfielder demonstrated his quality in the 2007/08 season when he played a starring role in his side’s 1-0 Uefa Cup 1st leg win over Spurs at White Hart Lane. His ability to beat his marker on the outside or inside was perfectly illustrated in this match as he gave Pascal Chimbonda a torrid time.

Afellay has also won 16 caps for his country which is impressive in itself when you consider the amount of midfield talent the Dutch boast. He was given the opportunity of playing for either Holland or Morocco but opted for his resident country. He won his first cap under Marco Van Basten in against Slovenia in March 2007 and has since become a permanent fixture in the squad including 3 appearances at Euro 2008.

Chelsea have been crying out for more width and Guus Hiddink had reportedly informed Roman Abramovich of his fellow countryman’s talents but whether Carlo Ancelotti would be interested remains to be seen. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has missed out on a number of reported transfer targets with Croatian Danijel Pranjic heading to Bayern Munich and Brazilian Keirrison set to move to Barcelona, so he will be determined to make sure Afellay joins Glen Johnson at Anfield. The fact that Afellay can play on either flank or as a 2nd striker makes him the perfect addition for Liverpool.

Paul Anderson Completes His Move To Nottingham Forest

Liverpool winger Paul Anderson has signed for Nottingham Forest in a £250,000 deal.

The 20-year-old spent last season on loan at the City Ground and has agreed a three-year contract.

Anderson failed to break into the first team at Anfield but believes he can achieve his dream of playing in the top flight with the Championship outfit.

He said: “Everyone’s ambition is to play in the Premiership and play at the highest level possible and I think we’re going to do that at this club.

“The ambition I’ve seen and the players I’ve seen at the club, there’s no reason why in the next couple of years we can’t be up in the Premiership.

“I’d love to go back to Anfield one day and show them what they have missed out on really.”

Anderson, who scored two goals in 28 appearances for Forest last season, turned down the chance to sign for Swansea City.

Real Plan £55 Million Triple Raid On Anfield

Real Madrid are reportedly planning an audacious triple bid for Liverpool stars Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Alvaro Arbeloa.

The Daily Mail suggests Florentino Perez will look to appease some of the press in Spain calling for the club to invest in more home-grown players by buying Alonso and Arbeloa.

In addition to the two Spanish internationals, Perez will try to undermine bitter rivals Barcelona in their attempts to sign Argentina captain Mascherano. The European Champions remain interested in the former West Ham player, despite Rafa Benitez insisting the player would cost £50 million alone.

Benitez is unlikely to sanction such a deal with the La Liga giants although the Daily Mail indicates there maybe three separate negotiations.

Publicly Benitez has stated Alonso is not for sale; however the Mail suggests Liverpool would sell for £35 million meaning he could hold onto Mascherano, who he is almost certain not to sell despite the player’s reputed family problems.

Having signed Glen Johnson from Portsmouth, Benitez would seemingly sanction a deal for Arbeloa, and although he would preferably keep Alonso, the player’s eagerness to leave Anfield might persuade him to cash in.

Foxes Clinch Ajdarevic Deal

Leicester City have completed the permanent signing of midfielder Astrit Ajdarevic from Liverpool.

Ajdarevic finished last season on loan with the Foxes, making five substitute appearances as the club clinched promotion from League One.

He had been keen to secure a permanent deal at the Walkers Stadium after being impressed by Leicester boss Nigel Pearson.

The Swedish youth international has now signed a one-year contract and becomes the club's sixth capture of the summer.

Liverpool Agree To Sell Sebastian Leto To Panathinaikos

Sebastian Leto's proposed move to Panathinaikos is set to be completed as Liverpool have agreed a fee with the Greek club, according to

Midfielder Leto spent last season on loan with Olympiakos and had expressed a desire to stay there, but the Greens were the first to bid for the player.

The winger arrived at Anfield in August 2007, touted as an exciting prospect for the future.

He made his debut against Toulouse in a Champions League qualifier in the same month - one of only four competitive appearances.

Work permit problems have since limited his first-team opportunities, leading the 22-year-old to a spell in Greece.

Leto began his career in 2005 in his native Argentina, with Lanus, based in Buenos Aires.

He made over 50 appearances there, scoring eight goals before leaving for Liverpool.

Liverpool Youngster Ryan Flynn Set For Loan Move

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is set to loan out youth product Ryan Flynn in order to help the midfielder gain first team experience.

Flynn is said to be keen to play regular football again, after enjoying a loan spell with Wrexham last season, with whom he made 21 appearances.

David Threlfall, the agent of the exciting young prospect, believes this is a key time for his client, who has plenty of options to consider this summer regarding next season.

"Liverpool are prepared to loan out Ryan during this summer's transfer window," Threlfall told Sky Sports.

"This is a big year for Ryan and he wants to be playing regular first-team football to continue his development.

"I have had a few enquiries for Ryan and we will sit down and decide what is the best option for him before deciding where to go."

Flynn was part of the Liverpool side that won back-to-back FA Youth Cups in 2006 and 2007.