Monday, May 17, 2010

Liverpool Place £10 Million Transfer Fee On Benitez

Liverpool have placed a massive £10million transfer fee on manager Rafa Benitez.

That’s the reason his proposed move to Juventus has been held up – and possibly scuppered altogether.

When the Italian club made an official approach for Benitez, Liverpool demanded £10m in compensation, as their Spanish boss still has four years left on his contract.

Juventus have refused to meet that figure and no compromise deal has been agreed. The situation has left Benitez, and Liverpool, in limbo – so Juventus are now considering other targets.

The Anfield side were so convinced that the Italian giants would pay the compensation that they started the search for a new manager. As revealed in the Daily Star Sunday last week, their preference was to go for a British boss, with Aston Villa’s Martin O’Neill at the top of their wanted list.

But with Benitez still at Anfield, Liverpool have had to put their plans on hold.

And the delay in the deal could cause problems as the Merseysiders look to strengthen their squad for next season.

They are currently looking at a number of players – but new faces are unlikely to join when they don’t know who will be in charge.

Aston Villa Chairman Randy Lerner Tells Liverpool To Forget About Taking Martin O'Neill

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner has warned Liverpool that his manager Martin O'Neill will not be leaving Villa Park this summer.

Recent reports have suggested that the talented Ulsterman had been viewed as the ideal replacement at Anfield should Rafael Benitez choose to leave.

However, the American billionaire has been quick to quash such rumours and is adamant his much admired manager will still be in charge of the west Midlands outfit come the start of next season.

"I don't want a manager who nobody else wants. But, as far as I'm concerned, Liverpool are not taking Martin O'Neill away from Aston Villa," Lerner told The Daily Star.

There have been reports in recent weeks that the relationship between chairman and manager at the Birmingham based club has become strained.

However, Lerner insisted he is happy with the way things are developing with his side reaching the League Cup final and finishing sixth in the Premier League.

Lerner, who also owns the Cleveland Browns in Ohio, admitted he also admired O'Neill's straight talking personality.

"If you look at the top managers, you realise you are dealing with animated, complicated people," added Lerner.

"With Martin [O'Neill] you've got a lot of personality, a lot of points of view, a lot of history and a lot of stuff going on.

"I realise that's who my manager is. And I don't want anything different than what I have here now."

Lerner also delivered a warning to Villa fans that funding a big summer spending spree was out of the question.

"I tell the truth. To anybody who asks me, I will simply say that I cannot afford it," he added.

"It isn't that I'm not prepared to write the cheque. But we have tried to build the club in a steady, reasonable way. And £30 million players are not a part of that.

"You also have to consider what you would pay the player and what the other players would think about it.

"It would just not be at all consistent with anything that we have done since I've been at the club."

Kuyt Says Liverpool Must Buy Players To Challenge Again

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has said that some signings must be made in order to challenge for trophies again.

The Reds suffered a very disappointing season, missing out on Champions League football and will suffer the ignominy of starting their Europa League campaign at the first hurdle in July.

With unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett having put the club up for sale, there is much uncertainty over Liverpool's financial future and consequently the Anfield careers of Rafa Benitez and star players such as Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Kuyt said that new players are needed, commenting, “If we can buy a few more players, I think we will be really close to winning trophies again."

Looking to the future, Kuyt said that the Reds must make amends next season, commenting, “Liverpool is a massive club,

“It’s very disappointing that we don’t have the Champions League because, up until last season, we had done so well in the competition.

“But this is what has happened. We have just got to make sure that we will be right back in it next year. Players who want to play in the Champions League would like Liverpool.

“We just have to make sure that we will back in it within one year.”

Manchester City Prepare Sensational £80m Package For Liverpool Duo

Manchester City are prepared to use both Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland as bait, in an £80 million package to take Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to Eastlands.

According to the News of the World, despite not qualifying for the Champions League next season, City hope to acquire the Liverpool pair in their bid to crack the top-four and launch an outside title challenge.

Adebayor has been reported to be unhappy at City, while Ireland has failed to make an impact this season despite collecting the 'Player of the Year' award at the club the previous campaign.

City's top-brass value Adebayor at around £30m, while Ireland could fetch up to £10m, meaning the mega-rich club would be prepared to pay an additional £40m to secure their top transfer targets.

With Liverpool's highlighted financial problems, such an injection of funds could prove too tempting to turn down.

Having been touted as a possible Chelsea target this summer, it remains to be seen whether Torres will stay at Anfield with the disappointment of not participating in Europe's premium club competition.

With City's other target Cesc Fabregas likely to favour a move to Barcelona if he were to leave Arsenal, the Citizens are set to tempt Liverpool in parting with their two stars from Merseyside.

Winger: It's Time To Kick On

Tom Ince believes the 2010-11 campaign could be significant in helping him realise his dream of one day playing for Liverpool's first-team.

The 18-year-old winger has enjoyed a fine season as part of Rodolfo Borrell's improving under-18 side and has now set his sights on stepping up a level during the summer months.

"My main aim is to try to get in the reserve team next season," he told

"I've had two years here at the Academy and hopefully the (reserve team) manager will feel I've done enough to earn the call to Melwood.

"I've got another year here as a scholar but I feel now is a good time for me to kick on and I think that the reserves is the logical next step for me to target.

"Obviously it would be great to follow Jack (Robinson) and maybe get on the bench for a first-team game, but that's in the future for now and I need to keep work hard to give myself the best possible chance of succeeding.

"I feel I've gone up a level since the start of the season. It's been a season of change with Rodolfo and Pep coming in as part of the coaching set up, but it's definitely been for the better and I think our unbeaten run to the season shows we are all growing as players."

Home Alone Mascherano Ready To Quit

Javier Mascherano has paved the way for his Liverpool exit this summer by revealing the misery of his family's lonely existence in England.

The Argentina international was close to joining Barcelona last year but was left disappointed when the move to the Nou Camp fell through.

The midfielder's wife and two daughters feel isolated on Merseyside because they don't speak English and don't leave the house.

His only friends in the area are Liverpool's Argentinian players Emiliano Insua and Maxi Rodriguez. He also occasionally sees Manchester City pair Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta.

Mascherano, who will captain his country at the World Cup, looks set to leave Anfield after deciding to put contract talks on hold until after the tournament.

He hopes the club's financial situation - and Rafa Benitez's future - will have been resolved by the time he returns from South Africa in July.

"I don't do much stuff in my free time, that's the truth," said Mascherano.

"I could go to London with my wife to do some shopping but I have already been to London 1,000 times and if I want to go to another city I would have to take a plane.

"What kills me about living in Liverpool is that there are only two Argentinians here with me, Emiliano Insua and Maxi Rodriguez.

"Insua and I live in a private neighbourhood. He lives in one tower and I live in the other. There are 15 metres between us and we used to look at each other through the window.

"Sometimes Zabaleta comes from Manchester but there is no way Carlos Tevez comes here. If I want to see him, I have to go to his place and knock on his door.

"He doesn't like to leave his home. So during the winter, during those four or five months, I have to stay at home all day with my family.

"I have no problem living in Liverpool, but I think my wife and daughters deserve to enjoy every day to the full and live their lives - but they have to be at home all day.

"My wife doesn't speak a word of English, so she depends 100 per cent on me.

"I live here with them. That's my world, that's my life."

Mascherano, 25, arrived at Anfield from West Ham in February 2007.

The £18million move had been made permanent after a brief loan spell and he signed a four-year deal which now has just nine months to run.

Barcelona made their interest known last summer. But Benitez, who was in the process of selling Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, could not decide whether he wanted to sell another midfielder. Eventually he priced Mascherano out of a move.

The player's poor start to this season could be explained by the effect the collapse of the transfer had on him psychologically.

He wanted the move for the sake of his family because life in the Catalan city would have allowed them to speak in their native Spanish.

"The situation with Barcelona really affected me," he said.

"It was a shame it didn't happen as it was the city I wanted to live in.

"There were many discussions and problems during that month and a half. They were difficult times for me. One day I was off to Barcelona, the next I wasn't.

"And Liverpool said I was non-transferable.

"Psychologically, it affected me as I couldn't think in Liverpool and I was focused on other stuff and not on my work, my training and playing.

"Also we were having problems with Argentina as our qualification to the World Cup was in danger.

"There was a lot of complicated stuff at that time."

Benitez Tells Yossi He Has No Future

Yossi Benayoun has been told he has no future at Liverpool by manager Rafa Benitez.

But despite several clubs, including Sevilla and Spurs, hunting the £9million-rated midfielder, Liverpool will block his sale until the Anfield managerial crisis is resolved. Benayoun's fate is being seen as the acid test of whether Benitez will avoid the sack this summer.

Benitez and Benayoun's relationship has broken down and tensions came to a head when the Israeli was left out of the squad for the final league game at Hull a week ago.

No major deals will be sanctioned until the board determines who will lead the team next season, and Benayoun says he is willing to fight on at Anfield under new management.

Benitez will see his decision on Benayoun as a test of how much authority he still has at the club.

If he's over-ruled, he'll know he no longer has the backing of the board, although they're stalling on whether to sack him because of the cost. The sale of Benayoun, who a new manager may wish to keep, would be a clear signal Benitez is staying.

Benayoun won't be the only high profile departure unless there is a change of manager.

But Liverpool are adamant they can bide their time and wait until just before pre-season before clarifying the situation.

What's certain is the only way Benitez will leave is if he's sacked. Despite hints he was considering quitting towards the end of the season, it's clear he would never walk away from his lucrative contract.

Fabio Capello Calls For England Support To Back Jamie Carragher

England boss Fabio Capello hopes England fans will get behind Jamie Carragher as he returns to international competition.

The Liverpool star retired from international duty back in 2007 and has since downplayed the honour of playing for his country, maintaining he would rather win with Liverpool than with England.

With the England boss fearing a backlash if Carragher features for the Three Lions, Capello has proclaimed he hopes fans will show respect to the 34-time capped defender.

“Carragher is one of the England players and the fans must support him,” Capello told the Daily Telegraph. “You have to support all the players. I think during the World Cup all the fans will help us.”

Capello admitted it took some convincing to get Carragher to return to the England fold.

“He had to think about it,” Capello said. “We tried to convince him more or less five times. He said 'no, no, no, no’. And now he said 'yes’. He is focused and a leader on the pitch.”

Reds Mourn Idrizaj

Liverpool Football Club have been shocked and saddened by the death of former striker Besian Idrizaj.

The 22-year-old Austrian is thought to have died in his sleep at his family home on Friday evening.

Idrizaj joined the Reds from LASK Linz in the summer of 2005 but despite spending three years at Anfield, he did not make a competitive appearance for the club.

His best moment in a Liverpool shirt came in a 2007 pre-season clash at Wrexham, in which he netted a first-half hat-trick to secure a 3-2 victory.

Everyone at Liverpool Football Club would like to pass on their condolences to Besian's family and friends at this very sad time.