Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Agent Denies Making Comments About Fernando Torres' Departure From Liverpool

Fernando Torres' agent has denied making any comments regarding the 26-year-old's future at Liverpool to the English press on Monday morning.

Jose Antonio Martin says that he hasn't spoken to the English media in months and has dismissed claims that the Spain international is thinking of switching to another Premier League club this summer.

Martin was earlier quoted as saying that although Torres will remain in the Premier League, he cannot guarantee that his client will stay with the Merseyside club. However, Torres' representative now says that he did not make those comments.

"For many months I have not spoken to the English press because their quotes are totally false," Martin has been quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "Now is not the moment to speak about this issue because Torres is focused completely on his work for Spain.

"After the World Cup Bahia Internacional will possibly meet with the player but the truth is that Fernando has signed a deal with Liverpool which is for the present and the future."

Torres' current contract with Liverpool runs until 2013. At the moment the former Atletico Madrid forward is with the Spanish squad in South Africa preparing for their semi-final clash with Germany on Wednesday evening.

Roman Abramovich Travels To South Africa To Lure Liverpool Striker Fernando Torres To Chelsea

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has travelled to South Africa to discuss a possible move with Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, according to a report from The Daily Telegraph.

The Blues owner is believed to be ready to offer a massive £50 million for the Spain star, who is also a reported target for Manchester City.

City's chances seem to be reducing now though, with the Spaniard understood to be keen to play Champions League football next season.

Torres' representatives have denied the 27-year-old wants to leave Anfield, but Chelsea and City both believe that, in reality, he is seeking a move.

Barcelona are also said to be interested, but Torres is apparently not keen on a move back to Spain.

Chelsea are set to bid below Liverpool's valuation of the player, which could complicate matters, but Abramovich is understood to be pushing very hard for the deal after his club already landed Yossi Benayoun from the Reds earlier this summer.

Liverpool FC Target Ashley Young Unlikely To Leave Aston Villa

Reputed Liverpool target Ashley Young is unlikely to leave Aston Villa, according to reports emerging in the West Midlands.

New Anfield boss Roy Hodgson made a pledge to try and buy English players this summer with 25-year-old Young strongly linked with a move to Merseyside.

However any potential interest in the England international may subside with suggestions that Martin O’Neill would not be willing to let two of his prize assets leave Villa Park.

Manchester City are expected to return with an improved offer for James Milner after their initial £20m bid was rejected in May.

If Villa and owner Randy Learner receive a fee deemed too good to refuse, Milner’s exit is likely to signal Young will remain with O’Neill’s men with boardroom sources saying a sale of a second top star would not be tolerated by the club faithful.

Fernando Torres Eyed By Manchester City For Stephen Ireland Plus Cash Deal

Roberto Mancini is to step up his pursuit of Fernando Torres with an offer to make him the world's best-paid footballer and hand Liverpool a player-plus-cash transfer deal including highly-rated Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland.

City's bosses have given the OK to present the Spanish international with a wage packet in excess of £200,000-a-week - which is reportedly the salary of fellow new signing Yaya Toure.

Liverpool has recently come under new management in the form of former Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, following the departure of Rafael Benitez.

As a result of the upheaval at Anfield, which includes the ownership of the club and the disappointing 2009/10 season, Torres' future has become the subject of intense speculation.

City is desperate to add one of the world's top strikers to their ranks and will offer fringe players as well as a significant transfer fee in excess of £30million for the former Atletico Madrid star.

Hodgson has already been told he will be given any transfer fee recouped from the sale of players to reinvest in the squad.

And he may accept Stephen Ireland plus cash is a fair deal for Torres - a player whose heart may not be in it anymore after his former manager, and the man he left his boyhood club to work for, departed in the summer.

Liverpool Rival Sunderland For Wigan Man

New Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is ready to do battle with Steve Bruce over Maynor Figueroa, according to reports.

Black Cats' boss Steve Bruce failed with two attempts to land the Honduras international last season, but is thought to be ready to renew his interest in a player who would fill the problem left-back position.

However, even if Bruce can convince former club Wigan Athletic to part company with Figueroa, it now seems he faces competition for the defender.

Hodgson has also identified the left as an area which the Reds need to strengthen with Fiorentina target Emiliano Insua having struggled for form during his time at Anfield.

Having worked with Figueroa while in charge at the DW Stadium, Bruce will be hopeful of getting his man.

The Sunderland boss used his Latics links to land Lee Cattermole last summer, but came under fire from Athletic chairman Dave Whelan after twice returning with bids for Figueroa.

That won't prevent Bruce from testing the water once again, with the Black Cats manager believed to have already made a tentative approach for Figueroa's Wigan team-mate Charles N'Zogbia.

Former Newcastle United man N'Zogbia is understood to be keen on a move away from the DW Stadium.

However, Whelan and Latics manager Roberto Martinez are likely to want to keep hold of one of their star players.

That could mean a high asking price being set for one or both players, with a bidding war in the offing should Hodgson step up his interest.

However, Bruce has insisted he will not pay over the odds for players.

Reina Makes Torres Warning

Pepe Reina today warned Germany that Fernando Torres is ready to break their hearts for the second time.

The 26-year-old striker has so far failed to score in five South Africa outings and by his own admission has yet to reach full fitness following knee surgery in April.

But speaking ahead of Wednesday's semi-final clash with Joachim Low's men, Reina backed his clubmate to repeat his Euro 2008 final heroics by ending German hopes of glory.

"Torres is a fully mature guy now and has experienced both tough and sweet moments in his career and knows that's the way football goes," said the goalkeeper.

"He knows he enjoys the confidence of the coach, the players and he has strong self confidence. He won us the final against Germany last time and we all hope he repeats that this time."

Gerrard - I'm No Quitter

Liverpool ace Steven Gerrard insists he will not call time on his international career despite England's World Cup disappointment.

The midfielder skippered Fabio Capello's side through their faltering Group C campaign followed by the 4-1 second round loss to Germany.

Since the defeat, Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher, who was persuaded to come out of retirement for the tournament by Capello, has again announced his withdrawal from the England scene.

The Italian boss is also thought to be planning to make wholesale changes to his side, replacing some of the 'old guard' with younger blood.

But Gerrard insists he will not be quitting England duty and he desperately wants to add to his 84 caps and make amends for the Germany disappointment.

He told Liverpool's official website: "There is no way I want the disappointment of the Germany game to be my last for England.

"It was such a low and I am determined to do as much as I can to make amends for what happened.

"I expect there to be a lot of changes to the squad and it is up to the manager whether I am selected, but I am going to continue to make myself available for my country."

Roy Hodgson Explains Winding Career Route Which Took Him To Liverpool

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson believes that his keen work ethic may be what has kept him away from a job at one of England's top clubs until now.

The well-travelled coach has enjoyed a varied career all over Europe and the Middle East and feels his willingness to take jobs and eagerness to return to the game when out of work have created a somewhat indirect path to Anfield.

"I wouldn't say I've done things the hard way because there are all kinds of routes a person can take in football management that throw up contrasting challenges," Hodgson told LFC Weekly magazine.

"It would be disrespectful to other managers to say that I've had it tougher. What I would say is that my route to Liverpool has been slightly different.

"My problem has been that I love working and I hate being out of it. Whenever I have been, after a few weeks I have found myself yearning for a return. So maybe on occasions I've been prone to jumping at an offer at a smaller club when I should have waited a little longer before a better job has come around."

Hodgson also believes that his ability to fit in to foreign environments fairly seamlessly has often meant that English clubs tended to forget about him when it came to finding a new manager.

"There have been times when I've tried to blend in too well to the surroundings I'm in, rather than be myself and portray my Englishness," he added.

"I sometimes think that people in England probably view me as the least English of the English managers. Maybe that's one of the reasons why it has taken me longer than others to get one of the big jobs."