Sunday, July 05, 2009

Real Madrid To End Pursuit For Liverpool Star Xabi Alonso

Not for the first time this summer, Real Madrid look set to give up in their chase for a player, namely Xabi Alonso.

According to Sport, Los Merengues are unwilling to pay the €50 million that Liverpool are demanding for the midfielder. Though money is seemingly in plentiful supply at the Bernabeu, Florentino Perez refuses to pay over the odds for any player.

Madrid are willing to go as high as €35m, but Liverpool have made it clear that they will not budge from their asking price.

In recent times, Alonso has been non-comittal about his future, refusing to rule out a move to Real. It remains to be seen whether he will be content to stay content at Anfield, should Los Merengues indeed end their interest.

Reds Battle Real For Silva

Liverpool are facing another battle with Real Madrid over long-term target David Silva.

Rafa Benitez is ready to revive a bid for the Valencia star if he is forced to sell Xabi Alonso, 27, to Real for £25million.

But the Kop boss fears England's new 50 per cent tax law and the poor Euro rate are making it impossible to compete with La Liga sides.

Real are closing in on £20m Silva, which would scupper Benitez's plans to use funds from Alonso's sale to recruit the Spaniard.

Benitez is also prepared to sacrifice midfielder Alberto Riera, 27, to raise funds.

Liverpool Demand €50 Million From Barcelona For Mascherano

Liverpool are willing to sell Javier Mascherano to Barcelona, but for no less than €50 million.

According to Marca, however, Barca have no intention of paying such a lofty sum to Liverpool. Indeed, a defensive midfielder is said to be the least of Barcelona's priorities.

The Catalan club are more concerned with signing a forward, a central defender, and a left-back. Only after these positions are accounted for will they pursue Mascherano or another defensive midfielder.

However, the chances of €50 million still being avaliable at the end of those operations is remote at best. Nevertheless, Barca sporting director Txiki Begirisitain has an agreement with Mascherano, should the clubs ever come to an agreement.

Therefore, Mascherano's transfer to Barca from Liverpool is still a distant possibility, but should the funds become available, a deal could yet be in the works.

Liverpool Midfielder Pressing For Move To Barcelona

Liverpool's title plans have been thrown into disarray by a standoff between Javier Mascherano and manager Rafa Benitez.

The pair fell out at the end of last season after Benitez rotated the team, leaving Mascherano out of some crucial matches.

The 25-yearold captain of Argentina is now pressing for a move to La Liga,
declaring he is ‘flattered’ by reported interest from Barcelona.

The player’s attempt to force his way out of Anfield has stunned Benitez, who is also having to reconsider letting Xabi Alonso go to Real Madrid for an inflated ¢G35million.

Benitez has always regarded Mascherano as one of his “untouchables” along with Pepe Reina, Steve Gerrard and Fernando Torres. He saved him from rotting in the reserves at West Ham and hopes their past ties will help him talk the player round to staying.

But if Mascherano sticks to his guns, it leaves the Spanish manager needing to re-think his entire summer transfer strategy. Originally he wanted to replace Alonso with long-time target Gareth Barry but needed to rethink when Barry signed for Manchester City.

He was willing to sell Alonso for an inflated ¢G35million to Real Madrid aware he could use the money to strengthen other areas of the team.

But Benitez knows he cannot afford to lose both midfield players if Liverpool are to win their first league title since 1990.

Benitez has faith in young Brazilian midfielder Lucas to play a more significant role next season but will also listen to offers for Andriy Voronin and Ryan Babel to strengthen other areas of the team.

He is a confirmed fan of Valencia’s Spanish international David Silva and wants Portsmouth’s £2million centre-half Sylvain Distin to replace Sami Hyypia.

Rafael Benitez Delighted With Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool Return

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has revealed his delight at the return to the club of Kenny Dalglish.

The Anfield legend arrives back on Merseyside in a senior role at the Liverpool Academy, overseeing the development of young players, as well as adopting a role as an ambassador for the Premier League runners-up.

And Benitez believes the Liverpool hero is the perfect man for the job, due to his passion and experience.

"I am really pleased to have Kenny as a part of the staff," Benitez told the club's official website.

"We were looking for someone who has the knowledge and passion for the club and Kenny is the perfect choice.

"He will help at the Academy with the development of players and will also have an ambassadorial role at the club. If you're looking for somebody to go around the world on behalf of Liverpool Football Club, then I don't know anybody better than Kenny.

"When you talk to him, about players and football systems, it's clear he has a lot of experience. That's good for the club and also for the young players coming through."

Michael Owen Would Have Taken Huge Pay Cut To Rejoin Liverpool

Prior to signing for Manchester United, Michael Owen was reportedly desperate to rejoin Liverpool and would have agreed to return to Anfield for as little as £25,000 a week, claims the News of the World.

The British tabloid reports that even whilst in talks with the English champions, Owen was hopeful of a move back to Merseyside, but was denied by manager Rafael Benitez.

Despite insisting he would accept a huge pay cut to return to the Reds, the striker was refused his dream move with Benitez seemingly unwilling to take a gamble on the 29-year-old.

The Liverpool boss reportedly had too many doubts over the player’s form and fitness to bring him back to Anfield, despite Owen being available on a free transfer and owner George Gillett also being keen on the deal.

The report also goes on to reveal that the Spaniard was concerned he might upset the club’s fans with a move for Owen, particularly as they remain unimpressed with the striker’s decision to leave the club for Real Madrid in 2004.

The former Newcastle United man also reportedly delayed travelling to Carrington for his United medical, in the hope that a move to Liverpool might appear.

However, the Reds were not interested, leaving the way clear for their bitter rivals to complete one of the most surprising transfers in recent years.

You Put Cash Before Honour!

Pepe Reina has hit out at Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez for snubbing Liverpool and opting for the riches on offer at Manchester City.

The Spanish keeper was a key part of the Reds side that finished just four points below Manchester United in the club's best Premier League season for years.

But instead of adding to the squad over the summer, Reina has so far seen two transfer targets turn down the chance of a move to Anfield and could also see team-mates like Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano leave Liverpool in search of moves abroad.

Barry looked a certainty to arrive on Merseyside in the close season after missing out on a move from Aston Villa 12 months ago.

But City seized the opportunity to snatch the player by offering him £120,000 a week before Liverpool had a chance to put in place the finance to sign him.

Tevez has been offered £140,000 a week to move to Eastlands after failing to agree a deal to extend his career at Old Trafford.

Liverpool also thought they were in pole position to land the Argentine by offering him Champions League football. Instead, the pair look to have chosen the money available at City. And Reina believes they should have prioritised their prospects of achievement above their wages.

He said: "Apparently, they moved for the money. That is their decision but I also think it is their problem if they cannot see that Liverpool is a bigger club.

"It's up to them what they do but let me tell them that I am very proud to play for Liverpool. We can offer European football and I think that should have been a consideration for them.

"Everybody knows what it is to play for Liverpool. It's a pleasure and a tremendous honour. I am surprised they didn't consider these things. Some things in a player's career should be more important than money."

Liverpool's latest balance sheet shows why they appear unable to offer anywhere near the kind of lucrative wages City are tempting players with at present.

Figures announced last month showed that joint owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are struggling to service the £350million loan they took out to buy the club.

Kop Holdings, the parent company that owns Liverpool, lost nearly £43m last year and backers RBS have moved to assure fans that their club is safe.

As it stands, manager Rafa Benitez is having to sell players before he can strengthen his side.

Even so, Reina, 26, insists Liverpool will be strong enough come the start of the season.

He said: "At Liverpool, you have to be fighting for the title and that's what we will be doing this year.

"We are involved in four competitions and just targeting one of them is not enough. The big one of the Premier League would definitely be best."

Kenny Dalglish: Fernando Torres Is Invaluable To Liverpool

New Liverpool academy advisor Kenny Dalglish has stated that he has been very impressed with the impact striker Fernando Torres has had on the club.

The Anfield legend, who returned to the club yesterday, feels that Torres has taken the Reds to a new level, and has said that the Spaniard is now an invaluable member of the squad.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Dalglish said, "Fernando has been invaluable to Liverpool Football Club in the two years he's been here and he has made a massive contribution, both in terms of the number of goals he's scored and his sheer presence on the pitch.

"A lot of people stood up and took notice when he scored his first goal for the club against Chelsea at Anfield because he took it so brilliantly.

"If people hadn't already taken him seriously, they certainly did from that moment on.

"He's since scored some spectacular goals, but it is his clinicalness that I like - his goal against Blackburn earlier this year was fantastic.

"Torres is a real threat that opponents don't like coming up against and Fernando can be more than delighted with what he's achieved since he came here because he's certainly made a profuse contribution."

Dalglish also feels that Torres can be the man to take the club to the next level and win the Premier League trophy for the first time in their history.

"There is a real determination at Anfield for the club to be as successful as they possibly can," he continued.

"I'm sure he would not have agreed a new long-term contract if he didn't believe the club were moving in the right direction.

"Last season was a bit of a stop-start one for Fernando. It was a long season and he obviously picked up some injuries along the way.

"At times, Rafa had to even leave him out or take him off early in games to try and protect him, but although last campaign was difficult, he will have benefited from that experience and he'll be ready for this season.

"He's very happy here, which is great, and it's a real bonus that we've got him in our side."

Torres has been at Anfield for just two years, and has already settled into life in England, scoring 38 goals in just 57 league appearances.