Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fernando Torres 'Will Continue At Liverpool Next Season' – Agent

Fernando Torres's agent has said the striker "will continue at Liverpool next season".

There has been speculation that the player would leave Anfield this summer after a disappointing season, with many of Europe's top clubs – such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona – linked with making a move.

However, José Antonio Peton told Punto Radio in Spain: "For the moment I can assure fans that Fernando will continue at Liverpool next season. Everything is down to Liverpool's attitude but for the time being Fernando is happy at the club and has a good contract.

"Liverpool have not spoken to us about his future, so he is just concentrating on playing at the World Cup."

Maxi Rodriguez Scores Twice For Argentina But Goes Off Injured

Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez hit two goals last night as Argentina signed off for their trip to the World Cup Finals with a 5-0 triumph over Canada in Buenos Aires.

Rodriguez hit the first via a free-kick in the 16th minute and put his country two goals up just past the half-hour following a pass from Carlos Tevez.

Rodriguez did not play the second-half after a foul from Canada’s Josh Simpson. just before the interval left him limping with an injury to his right ankle.

The knock was later described as minor.

By that point, the home side were 3-0 up with a fine strike from Angel Di Maria. Tevez netted Argentina’s fourth just after the hour mark before Sergio Aguero rounded off the comfortable win for Diego Maradona’s team 20 minutes from time.

Wilson Move In Doubt

Danny Wilson's dream move to Liverpool has stalled - because the young Rangers defender does not meet a 'homegrown' quota system being introduced by the English Premier League.

Now the cash-strapped Ibrox club could lose out on up to £3million if the 18-year-old remains in Glasgow next season before leaving when his contract expires.

Sportsmail understands Wilson had proven particularly attractive to the Merseyside giants because they are planning for new regulations which will demand eight homegrown players in every topflight club's 25-man squad.

Liverpool initially believed it applied to footballers from across the whole of the British Isles, but their interest has now cooled after it emerged only youngsters brought through at English and Welsh clubs will qualify.

This has forced a hitch in the projected Wilson deal, which had seen Liverpool offer a £2.5m down payment, with a further £1.5m in add-ons.

While it is believed they still want to sign the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year, it will not be with the same urgency as before. Wilson has rejected all offers of an extension to his contract with Rangers.

And it's understood that, if no agreement can be struck with Liverpool at the moment, he will resolve to remain at Ibrox next season before becoming eligible to sign a pre-contract elsewhere in January.

Any club signing Wilson would then have to pay only around £650,000 in compensation under FIFA rules relating to players under the age of 24.

FA Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: 'All clubs must declare their 25-man squad at the end of August after the close of the transfer window.

'No more than 17 of those players can be over the age of 21 and not home-grown.

'The definition of homegrown is trained for three years under the age of 21 by somebody in the English and Welsh professional system. It is not in a club's interests to stockpile players. It will make buying home-grown talent more attractive.'

Rafa Benitez has already started to adjust Liverpool's staffing levels, with young Englishman Jonjo Shelvey signing from Charlton Athletic.

Fabio Aurelio To Exit Anfield After Turning Down New Contract

Liverpool defender Fabio Aurelio has turned down the offer of a new pay-as-you-play deal and will leave the club next week, manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed.

The Brazilian's career at Liverpool has been littered with injuries and his final year was indicative of that.

He missed the start of the campaign after sustaining a freak knee problem while playing football with his children and a thigh problem at the end of February prematurely ended his season.

Because of his fitness record the club offered the 30 year-old a flexible deal based on the matches he played but Aurelio wanted the security of a more permanent arrangement and has chosen to end his four-year stay at Anfield.

"Fabio's contract is nearly finished and he is going to leave us," said Benitez.

"We had been trying to work something out with regards an extension but it was a pity that we couldn't.

"He has given us absolutely fantastic service. The one problem we had with Fabio was that he suffered too many injuries and it was such a pity because he has great quality."

Aurelio's absence placed additional pressure on 21 year-old left-back Emiliano Insua as there were times when Benitez wanted to rest the player but had no other back up and, as a result, the Argentinian played 44 matches before he too succumbed to injury late in the season.

LFC Eye Brazilian Forward Diego Tardelli

Liverpool are running the rule over highly-rated Brazilian forward Diego Tardelli.

Anfield scouts have watched the 25-year-old striker, who plays in his homeland league for Atletico Miniero and would be available for around £6m.

Tardelli played three times for Brazil in their World Cup qualifiers and was named in their preliminary 30-man squad for the forthcoming finals in South Africa, but failed to make coach Dunga’s final cut.

The striker was a product of Sao Paulo’s youth system and had spells on loan in Europe with Real Betis and PSV Eindhoven before spending a season at Flamengo.

Turkish side Fenerbahce and Saint-Etienne of France are among a clutch of clubs to have been linked in recent years for Tardelli.

West Ham United have also been tracking the forward, who has scored 42 goals in 58 games and was rated among Brazil’s brightest young talents when he burst on to the scene as a teenager.

Rafa Wants Former United Star

Liverpool boss is reportedly considering making a move for former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi this summer.

Having left Old Trafford back in 2007 the New Jersey born Italian international has gone from strength to strength at La Liga side Villarreal and has been named in Marcello Lippi's provisional World Cup squad.

Rafa Benitez is keen to bring in new attacking options to help carry the burden that is placed almost entirely on the shoulders of Spaniard Fernando Torres and the Anfield boss may well be able to pick up the impish 23-year-old for a fee of around £12m.

Rossi has had three consistent seasons at Villarreal where he has managed 45 goals and made himself one of the most dependable strikers in Spain. His efforts have not gone unnoticed and fellow Premier League side Manchester City are also reportedly interested in snapping up his services.

The Liverpool manager could also tempt the Spanish side with the possibility of offering expendable Albert Rieira as part of any deal.

Rafa Benitez Considering Albert Riera For Nikola Zigic Swap

Valencia striker Nikola Zigic is interested in a move to the Premier League and has garnered the interest of a number of English clubs including Liverpool.

Reds manager Rafa Benitez is keen to make an offer to los Che that could kill two birds with one stone. He is pondering a swap deal that would send out of sorts winger Albert Riera to Spain in return for los Che's towering striker, according to AS.

If such a deal were to materialise, Liverpool would be obligated to pay an additional €3-4 million in addition to Riera.

Other teams have their sights set on Zigic as well, which could play a role in the proceedings should Liverpool drag their feet. Aston Villa and Birmingham are two possible suitors for the towering Serbian as well.

Skrtel: I Must Prove Myself

Martin Skrtel is desperate to prove his fitness to earn a place in the Slovakian squad for what will be an historic World Cup for his nation.

Skrtel suffered a metatarsal injury in February, missing the climax of Liverpool's season, but is in Slovakia's provisional squad for South Africa 2010.

The defender now has two warm-up games against Cameroon and Costa Rica to demonstrate he's ready to be tested on the biggest stage in global football in what will be Slovakia's first ever World Cup finals.

He told LFC Weekly: "Those two games will be very important for me. My aim is to try to train every day to be ready for these two matches and maybe they will show me how I feel and which level I can play at.

"First I must get my fitness and then try to get my form back to the level it was at before my injury. That will help me to be ready for the World Cup."

Skrtel says there is a growing expectation among his nation's population of just over five million.

He added: "Because it is the first World Cup for Slovakia, it is a big thing for all Slovakian people. So we are all looking forward to the competition and I hope that we will show our best and produce some good results there."

Liverpool Owner Tom Hicks Files For Bankruptcy At Texas Rangers

Tom Hicks has hardly been popular amongst Liverpool FC fans, but his problems at Anfield are nothing compared to the issues facing the Texas Rangers, who have now filed for bankruptcy.

Hicks arrived at Liverpool with co-owner George Gillett in 2007 with grand plans for a new stadium to allow the club to move from Anfield, but the stadium is yet to materialise and, this season, Rafael Benitez's team has failed to secure qualification for the Uefa Champions League, casting further doubts on the club's financial viability.

Things are even more difficult for Hicks on the other side of the Atlantic where, on Monday, the Texas Rangers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the aim of hastening the US$575 million sale of the team to a group of investors that includes former pitcher Nolan Ryan.

The deal will see the Rangers pay the US$75 million of the franchise's debt tied up in Hicks Sports Group, allowing the team to be sold by protecting it from the creditors of HSG.

"I did not want to put the baseball future of the Texas Rangers in jeopardy or uncertainty for an extended period of time," Hicks told Bloomberg. "This action is all about creating an end to the impasse in allowing this team sale to go forward."

New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez heads the list of creditors. He is owed US$24.9 million in deferred compensation six years after leaving the Rangers. Bloomberg notes: 'The next five on the list are also current or former players: Kevin Millwood ($12.9 million), Michael Young ($3.9 million), Vicente Padilla ($1.7 million), Mickey Tettleton ($1.4 million) and Mark McLemore ($970,000).'