Saturday, August 01, 2009

Alonso Future Up In The Air

Xabi Alonso is due to fly back to Spain with Liverpool on Saturday as the negotiations over his possible transfer drag on.

Liverpool are playing in a friendly against Espanyol on Sunday to open the Barcelona club's new stadium and at the moment Alonso is expected to be in the travelling party.

A final decision is likely to be taken after the squad have trained on Saturday morning ahead of an afternoon flight.

But with both Liverpool and prospective buyers Real Madrid digging their heels in over the fee for the 27-year-old international, a decision on the deal is now not expected until Monday.

Real are believed to now have offered players in part-exchange while Chelsea, Manchester City and an unnamed Italian club are still monitoring the situation.

But Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is still demanding £30million for the Spain international and has previously said that he is not interested in taking any Real players in the deal and wants a cash-only agreement.

The players on offer are Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Alvaro Negredo and Rafael van der Vaart.

Manchester City Ready To Pounce If Real Madrid Stall On Meeting Liverpool's Asking Price

Liverpool and Real Madrid are just £2.5million apart as they go into the final stretch of negotiations over Xabi Alonso's move to the Bernabeu.

Talks will take place over the weekend with Monday set as the deadline for a deal to be struck.
Liverpool have dropped their price considerably since the start of the summer and are reluctant to go much under £30m.

Following Alonso's decision to hand in a written transfer request, a compromise figure around £28m could be reached, but Liverpool will point to interest from Italy and other English clubs.

Chelsea and Manchester City both enquired about the Spain midfielder in May, but were told he is not for sale. Stamford Bridge boss Carlo Ancelotti remains keen if the price is right, but is also in talks to sign Andrea Pirlo from AC Milan.

Juventus were very interested in the 27-year-old last year, but have since signed Brazil attacking midfielder Diego, so it is unclear whether they are the unnamed Italian club said to be ready to make a renewed bid.

Alonso's heart is set on Madrid and the Spanish giants are keen to offer players to try to break the impasse in negotiations.

Madrid have struggled to offload players and are prepared to offer Liverpool one of Alvaro Negredo, Rafael van der Vaart or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, according to reports in Spain.

Anfield boss Rafa Benitez is thought to have some interest in 23-year-old Negredo, but with Madrid valuing the striker at about £15m, Liverpool would prefer to take the cash.

Alonso is said to be dreaming of making his debut in his hometown of San Sebastian, where Real Madrid are the visitors for Real Sociedad's centenary match on August 15. The player started his career at the Basque club.

New galactico Karim Benzema has welcomed negotiations to sign Alonso, describing him as a 'superplayer' who he hopes to team up with.

Liverpool Offered Swap Deal By Real Madrid For Xabi Alonso

Real Madrid are prepared to offer Liverpool a choice of Alvaro Negredo, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Rafael Van der Vaart as part of the deal to take Xabi Alonso to the Bernabeu as the Spanish club try to break the deadlock surrounding one of the summer’s longest-running transfer sagas.

Alonso handed in a formal, written transfer request on Wednesday night in a bid to expedite his move, held up for several weeks by Real’s refusal to meet Liverpool’s £30 million asking price for the Spanish international.

Rafa Benitez, the Liverpool manager, had asked Alonso for a decision on his future - though he had not, as has been suggested, put a definite time limit on the deal - and the player had hoped a declaration of intent would force both clubs to reach an agreement.

Benitez, though, remains adamant he will not reduce his demands for a player he does not wish to sell while Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, is determined not to pay over the odds for a player he does not see as a marketing investment, as he does Cristiano Ronaldo, and is unlikely to be happy at being forced into a corner.

Real would like to pay no more than £24 million and, with the clubs still £6 million apart in their valuations, the stalemate persists, transfer request or no.

Reports in Spain suggest Real are keen to overcome that by offering Liverpool their pick of Negredo and Huntelaar, the strikers, or Van der Vaart, the Dutch international midfielder.

Benitez insisted earlier in the summer that he has no interest in a swap deal, but he has been tracking Negredo for several months after the forward enjoyed a successful loan spell at Almeria.

Madrid are desperate to cut their squad - currently 29 strong, after the purchase of Alvaro Arbeloa from Liverpool and the sale of Gabriel Heinze to big-spending Marseille - as Spanish league rules dictate they can register a maximum of 25 players for their campaign.

They have attempted to offload Huntelaar to the French side and Stuttgart in recent weeks, while Negredo was offered to Valencia as part of a package to sign David Villa.

Sources in Italy believe Liverpool have already lined up Alonso’s most direct replacement after offering the Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani a five-year contract.

Benitez is thought to be ready to pay around £14 million to sign the Italian international from Roma, in the midst of an ownership tussle and chronically impoverished.

Valencia this morning insisted Benitez’s long-term priority target David Silva is not for sale.

Report: Roma Ace Alberto Aquilani Agrees Liverpool Terms

According to Rome-based daily Il Messaggero, Italian international midfielder Alberto Aquilani is ready to turn his back on his hometown club Roma and commit his long-term future to Premier League giants Liverpool.

‘Il Principino’ has allegedly agreed a five-year contract with the Anfield outfit worth €4 million-per-season.

However, Liverpool have yet to enter formal discussions with the Lupi as Aquilani’s move to England is directly tied to Xabi Alonso’s future, with the Spaniard reportedly on the verge of finalising a move to Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid.

Aquilani only penned a new contract with the Giallorossi last May, tying him to the Olimpico until June 2013, but president Rosella Sensi is prepared to sacrifice the youth product to ease the club’s financial problems and is hoping to get at least €20m out of the deal.

Tottenham Hotspur Ready To Move For Liverpool's Andrea Dossena - Report

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly interested in signing Andrea Dossena from Liverpool.

The out-of-favour Italian defender has in the past indicated that he would like to make a move back to his homeland, but the proposed move to Napoli has staggered to a halt following a disagreement over the player's personal terms.

Recent reports suggest that the Azzurri could land Dossena by Monday, but the word in the UK is that Tottenham will make a last-ditch move for the player.

According to the Daily Mail, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is worried about the lack of options in the squad should he lose Gareth Bale, who has also been linked with a switch to the peninsula.

The 27-year-old signed for the Reds from Udinese in 2008, for an undisclosed sum said to be in the region of €8.2 million.

Liverpool & Everton Interested In Juventus Midfielder Christian Poulsen

Premier League rivals Liverpool and Everton are expected to fight a Merseyside derby for Juventus midfielder Christian Poulsen.

The stopper, who has been linked with an exit from Turin, seems to have attracted interest from the two Liverpool-based sides.

Lee Anderson, Poulsen's English representative, has revealed both clubs have made enquiries for the Danish international.

"It's complicated trying to find a club for Poulsen in England," Anderson told Tuttosport.

"The most recent interest has been from Liverpool and Everton, clubs that would be able to afford the player.

"We have spoken, but it was preliminary contacts which have not developed."

According to Poulsen's agent, Joann Bonnesen, the midfielder would prefer to remain in Turin and fight for his place in the squad.

"Christian is fine in Turin. He has decided that he wants to stay and fight to prove his worth to the Bianconeri. He is hoping for another chance," added the agent.

Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez Pays Tribute To Sir Bobby Robson

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has added his voice to the many paying tribute to the late Sir Bobby Robson, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 76 today, passing away peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham.

The great man enjoyed a long and successful career in the game, both as a player and a manager, and spent part of his career in Benitez's home country, Spain, where he worked at Barcelona.

The official Reds website conveyed its condolences to everyone connected with Sir Bobby, with the manager adding his own personal tribute.

"The death of Sir Bobby is a sad loss to football.

"His record in many different countries was testament to his talents as an outstanding manager and he clearly never lost his tremendous passion and enthusiasm for the game.

"He will be sorely missed by all of us," Benitez concluded.

Davey Confirms Hammill Bid

Barnsley boss Simon Davey is awaiting a response from Liverpool after making an offer for winger Adam Hammill.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a productive three-month loan spell at Oakwell last season and the Tykes are now keen to secure his services on a permanent deal.

Barnsley have now tabled a bid for Hammill and Davey is hoping that their bid meets the Anfield outfit's valuation.

He told Barnsley Player: "We have been in conversation with Liverpool again. I am yet to find out the outcome of that but we have made a bid for Adam.

"We have put a bid in for a permanent deal. Hopefully that will be a successful one and we can get Adam into the football club as soon as possible.

"There have been positive noises coming from Anfield and I do not think that we are that far apart in our valuations so hopefully we can come to an agreement."