Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Roy Hodgson To Receive '£40 million' Transfer Budget At Liverpool

Roy Hodgson will receive a £40 million transfer budget to re-build the Liverpool squad and avoid a repeat of last season's disappointing seventh-place finish.

Hodgson, who was recently confirmed as the replacement for Rafael Benitez, has been guaranteed £12million, which will rise to around £40m with the expected sales of Javier Mascherano and Albert Riera, according to the News of the World.

Hodgson will receive all of the funding from the transfers, though will not benefit from the £5.5m sale of Yossi Benayoun, with the money already put aside to pay off ex-manager Benitez and a £2m compensation bill to Fulham.

Rumoured targets include Ashley Young and Steven Taylor, though Hodgson faces a battle to keep captain Steven Gerard and striker Fernando Torres onside after Liverpool's torrid Premiership season.

The quality of any new signings will play a major factor in the battle to keep both players at Anfield, who are said to be unhappy with the club's inability to challenge for top honours.

Mascherano looks increasingly likely be sold to Barcelona rather than Inter Milan as a replacement for Yaya Toure, who recently joined Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Inter Milan are rumoured to be interested in Albert Riera, who failed to attend midweek pre-season training, reports the News of the World.

Hodgson is however determined to hold onto £20m signing Alberto Aquilani, despite the Italian's injury-hit d├ębut season with the Reds.

Liverpool Scare Off Inter Milan With £8 Million Lucas Leiva Valuation

According to the People, both Panathinaikos and Palermo have already had bids rejected by the Reds, but with Benitez a big supporter of the Brazil international he could find himself following his former manager to the San Siro this summer.

Benitez signed Lucas during his six year spell at Anfield and stood by the former Gremio man when he was singled out for abuse from supporters following some poor individual performances.

Liverpool are said to be attempting to raise much needed funds for new manager Roy Hodgson to rebuild the side before next season, and the selling spree could begin with Lucas.

However, the Merseysiders will not want to lose Lucas, who made 32 Premier League starts last season, on the cheap and look set to be holding out for a big offer before offloading their unsettled star.

Ayala Heading Back To Spain

Liverpool defender Dani Ayala is set for a season-long loan move to Spanish second division club Real Valladolid, with a view to a permanent move.

The youngster joined the Anfield club from Sevilla back in September 2007 and Reds reserve team coach John McMahon claimed that the 19-year-old had all the attributes to succeed.

However, the hot Spanish prospect only has one year left on his contract and, following Rafa Benitez's move to Spain, he is now excited to be possibly returning to his homeland with Valladolid, who were relegated from La Liga last season.

"Right now I am waiting to see what my future is because I don't know what will happen now Benitez has left. I am happy at Liverpool but I would be very excited to play in Spain," he said in The People.

Ayala made five appearances for Liverpool last season, starting two games, against Stoke and Burnley.

Dirk Kuyt Close To Fulfilling Lifelong Dream At World Cup

Dirk Kuyt admits he has dreamt of playing in a World Cup final all his life, but the Holland and Liverpool winger knows he needs to put those thoughts aside and focus on the job ahead.

The hard-working 29-year-old has been a key player for Holland and is certain to take his place in the starting line-up against Uruguay in their World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

He said the whole team was excited at still being in the tournament, but they were not getting carried away at the prospect of meeting either Germany or Spain in the decider.

"We are all so happy and we know how close we are to getting to the final," he told the Liverpool website.

"This is something we have dreamed about our whole lives but we know that we have got to be careful and everyone expects us to get there now.

"We have got a lot of hard work to do. We have got to make sure we stick together and not get too carried away because the semi-final will be the hardest game we play. But we have got a fantastic opportunity."

Kuyt, who blossomed at Feyenoord where he scored 83 goals in 122 matches, moved to Liverpool in 2006 and said he was looking forward to working with new manager Roy Hodgson.

"It is good news that everything is sorted out," said Kuyt after Hodgson agreed a three-year deal with the club last week to replace Rafael Benitez.

"I haven't spoken to the manager yet because everyone at Liverpool wanted me to prepare for Holland's game but I'm looking forward to speaking to him."

Hodgson has taken steps to introduce himself to all members of the Liverpool squad, including those still on World Cup duty, which include Kuyt and fellow Dutchman Ryan Babel.

Fernando Torres 'Happy' With Roy Hodgson's Appointment As Liverpool Manager

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has declared that he is happy with the arrival of Roy Hodgson as manager at Anfield.

The Spain star hopes that the former Fulham manager can provide the Reds with the kind of stability and guidance that they have seemingly been lacking for a while now.

"I was happy he got the job," Torres told reporters.

"I haven't had a chat with him yet but I will talk with him soon and we will see his ideas about the future.

"He did really well at Fulham and I am sure he can do better for Liverpool. He is a very good manager. Hopefully he will be the right man to give Liverpool the opportunity to be strong again."

Rumours persist that Torres is set to leave Liverpool this summer, with Manchester City said to be keeping a close eye on his situation.

The player insisted that his situation would be discussed after Spain's World Cup campaign is over.

"I have a contract so it is the reality now. My future is here [at the World Cup] now," he said.

"South Africa is too important to think after that. I'm sure I will talk with him soon."

Roy Hodgson Opens Door For Brede Hangeland's Move To Arsenal

Roy Hodgson has ruled himself out of signing any players from Fulham - including defender Brede Hangeland - leaving the way clear for Arsenal to swoop for the highly-rated central defender.

After quitting Craven Cottage to take over at Liverpool last week, it was widely reported Hodgson would look to 'raid' his former club for several players - including Hangeland, who had also followed the experienced coach from Norwegian club Viking to west London in 2008.

However, Hodgson has categorically ruled out any talk of poaching Fulham's stars as he looks to build a Liverpool squad in his image - saying it was one of the pledges he had made to Mohamed al Fayed when the Fulham chairman allowed him to leave for Anfield.

'I won't be raiding Fulham,' he said.

'I've made that commitment to the club, who were good enough, albeit reluctantly, to allow me to speak to Liverpool and take the job here.

'I have great respect for everyone there, I had magnificent support from the chairman Mr Al Fayed and the chief executive.

'And the one thing I made clear to the [Liverpool] chairman is that I certainly don't want to go in and raid Fulham FC because that wouldn't be the right thing to do.'

Hodgson's pledge leaves the way open for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to approach the Cottagers over Hangeland - who is reportedly considering his future at the club in the light of the former coach's departure.

The Gunners are in desperate need of reinforcements at the back following the release of out-of-contract defenders William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre, and a likely move to Celtic for veteran Sol Campbell.

Hodgson has so far refused to be drawn on the question of potential transfers to Liverpool, although speculation suggests he could be handed a £40million transfer kitty to begin restructuring the squad.

However, he has already made clear he wants to keep senior players such as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher - not to mention top-rated striker Fernando Torres, who is again being linked with a move to another Premier League side thought to be Chelsea.

'I'll have to deal with the question of the sort of players we will be signing to a later date,' Hodgson added.

'I need to sit down with the coaches and the chief executive and discuss things first.'

Torres May Leave - Agent

Fernando Torres' agent has refused to commit his client's long-term future to Liverpool.

Although the Spain international is contracted to the Anfield club until 2013 Rafa Benitez's summer exit has raised question marks.

Torres is currently in South Africa preparing for a World Cup semi-final against Germany, although his form to date this summer has been below par.

The 26-year-old was thought to be a target for Barcelona, but agent Jose Antonio Martin has ruled out that possibility after they signed David Villa.

Martin believes, if anything, Torres will remain in the Premier League, but not necessarily with The Reds, sparking rumours of a possible move to Chelsea.

"Barcelona have signed David Villa and now they want to invest the money they have in other players," he told the Daily Mail.

"It is very likely that Fernando Torres will stay in the Premier League, but I cannot say that it will be with Liverpool.

"We are working on his future but right now you cannot guarantee that he will stay with the English club."

Albert Riera Will Be Given The Chance To Resurrect His Liverpool FC Career

Albert Riera will be offered the chance to revive his Liverpool career today.

New manager Roy Hodgson has pledged to give every player the opportunity to prove they have a future at the club.

The controversial winger was thought to be surplus to requirements after a spectacular fall-out with former manager Rafa Benitez last season.

Frustrated by a lack of first team opportunities, the Spain international criticised Benitez’s management style and labelled the club a ‘sinking ship’.

Riera’s incredible outburst saw him suspended and fined two weeks wages after which he was frozen out at Liverpool before also missing out on Spain’s World Cup squad.

It has been a miserable year for the former Manchester City winger but now Riera will get his chance to impress the new boss, who has suggested everyone will start with a clean slate.

“Whenever a new manager comes in, players who have been on the periphery start to see it and maybe think ‘this may be my chance, I’ll have a go’,” said Hodgson

“You’d be foolish as a manager not to give them that chance.”

A minor knee injury prevented Riera from reporting back for the start of pre-season training last week.

Instead he was given Thursday and Friday off by the club and is expected at Melwood today where he will meet Hodgson.

Italian giants Juventus are thought to be interested in Riera, as are La Liga side Mallorca who could try to tempt the 28-year-old back to the ONO Estadi where he began his career.

Riera joined Liverpool from Espanyol for £8million in summer 2008 but has failed to make an impact, scoring just five goals.

He made 28 Premier League appearances in his first season on Merseyside but just 12 last term before falling out of favour after an alleged training ground bust-up with another player and a move to Spartak Moscow fell through in April leaving Riera in limbo.

Since then the player has backtracked on his ‘sinking ship’ jibe insisting he wants to remain at Anfield.

“This was a difficult year for me and for Liverpool,” said Riera last month.

“Sincerely, if I can, I would like to remain at Liverpool because this club is a top one.”

That decision is now with Hodgson, though the Reds boss will probably have to offload players before he can start to shape his own squad.

Although chairman Martin Broughton has claimed the club do not need to raise money from player sales to alleviate the club’s debts, Hodgson will begin his tenure with a modest transfer kitty of around £12million.

Hodgson said last week that he will ‘fight tooth and nail’ to keep Liverpool’s best players at the club but will also know that he will have to raise funds if he is to secure his top transfer targets.

Roy: How Reds Inspired Me

Roy Hodgson has revealed how Liverpool's legendary 'pass and move' brand of football helped inspire his managerial style.

The newly-installed Reds boss admits watching the club during the trophy-laden decade of the 1970s shaped his approach to coaching.

Now Hodgson hopes to implement a similar style at Anfield once again as he begins his Liverpool tenure.

"All the things I've always liked are the things Liverpool were famous for in their heyday," he said.

"Pass and move, always move it quickly and once you lose it get back in to position.

"That was the mantra which took Liverpool through their great years.

"I like a high-tempo passing game. I like players to work hard, I like players to get back in position. Those are my principles. I was influenced by the Liverpool team which dominated the 70s with all its great players and playing the football they played.

"Also the Arsenal team of 1970-71 with Don Howe, who I thought was an exceptional coach, and the Chelsea team around about the same era of Dave Sexton.

"All those teams, for me, played football the way I was hoping to coach a football team to play.

"And they're also teams who had great success in playing that way and had managers and coaches who I as a young coach thought I could learn from."

Hodgson also pledged not to become involved in any mind games with other managers, describing such ploys as 'nonsense'.

"I must say I've always believed you don't have battles with other managers," he stated.

"Football teams have battles with other football teams, clubs have battles with other clubs and I've never subscribed to that theory that it's me and you.

"I used to find it quite ridiculous in Italy when they used to compare your record against another manager. It's nonsense.

"If you happen to be manager of a club who is fighting for survival against a club which wins the title every year, the chances are that in the battles you've had he's won one and you've won five. That's the way it goes."