Friday, July 23, 2010

Official: Liverpool Sign Rangers Defender Danny Wilson On Three-Year Deal

Rangers defender Danny Wilson has passed a medical and completed his move to Liverpool on a three-year contract.

A deal to bring the 18-year to Anfield was announced on Wednesday, with an initial £2 million fee to be paid. Instead of travelling to Australia with his Rangers team-mate, Wilson had flown to Merseyside to rubber stamp the transfer.

Speaking to LFC TV, he was delighted to have finalized the switch to "one of the biggest teams in the world."

He said: "It's a great feeling to sign for Liverpool. Wherever you go everyone knows Liverpool FC and I am just very happy to be here.

"This is a massive challenge for me. This is one of the best leagues in the world and I will be playing for one of the biggest teams in the world.

"Coming here from Scotland, people may say I might not be ready for this, but that is a challenge I want to put on myself and that's the reason I came here.

"Everyone knows about the history of this football club with 18 league titles.

"It wasn't a difficult decision to come here as Liverpool is not a team who come in for you every day, so I can't wait to get started.

"There were other clubs interested in me who are in the Champions League, but once Liverpool came in for me there was only one team I wanted to go to."

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar To Sign For Liverpool, Ryan Babel Joining Milan

Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will join Liverpool, with Ryan Babel heading the other way as part of the deal, claims Il Corriere dello Sport.

On Tuesday, Huntelaar was reportedly in Manchester, leading to speculation talks with either Manchester City or Manchester United are impending.

However, the latest reports from Italy suggest he could join Liverpool if Fernando Torres leaves. Huntelaar was not at Milanello on Wednesday, leading to further belief his future is away from Milan.

And should the deal with Liverpool take off, Milan will press for Ryan Babel as part of negotiations.

Everton are also said to be tracking the Rossoneri striker, but the lure of Anfield is likely to prove pivotal in his decision.

There has been little official confirmation in relation to Huntelaar's future, but Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri didn't appear too convincing when he was probed for a diagnosis.

"Huntelaar, for now, is a Milan player," he told the press. The Dutchman has also been linked with Tottenham and Aston Villa previously.

Liverpool Defender Philipp Degen On Stuttgart Radar

Ambitious Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart are considering making a move for Switzerland defender Philipp Degen, currently under contract with Premier League outfit Liverpool, according to a report in Blick.

Stuttgart coach Christian Gross is eager to add some more depth to his squad in the summer transfer window and the former Basel gaffer supposedly sees the 27-year-old Degen as the perfect addition to his roster.

The highly rated defender previously enjoyed a successful Bundesliga spell with Borussia Dortmund from 2005-2008 before leaving Germany for the Premier League. However, he never really managed to secure regular first team action at Liverpool.

New manager Roy Hodgson told Degen earlier this week that he's no longer needed by the Reds and the full-back could therefore be on his way back to the Bundesliga.

Stuttgart is supposedly preparing a €1.5 million offer for the defender and Liverpool is widely expected to accept the Schwaben's bid for Degen.

Liverpool Offer Swap Deal For French Prodigy

Liverpool has offered two players to Nice in an attempt to bring Loic Remy to Anfield.

The French starlet has been at the centre of a bidding war between the Reds and West Ham - with the Londoners currently believed to be in pole position for his signature - but the Daily Mirror reports that Roy Hodgson is willing to offer two of his fringe players as part of the deal in a last ditch attempt to sign the striker.

Moroccan winger Nabil El Zhar and Frenchman Damien Plessis are understood to be the men in question but, with each player valued at around £700,000, Liverpool will still have to go some way to match West Ham's bid of £13.5 million for the 23-year-old.

Hodgson has already increased his transfer kitty with the sale of full-back Emiliano Insua but, with reports suggesting that the Merseysiders are unable to afford to buy Remy outright, they may have to cash-in on Argentina captain Javier Mascherano before approaching Nice with a realistic offer.

However, this could all be in vain after Les Aigons general manager Patrick Governatori said that he was happy with the Hammers' latest bid.

"We received a new offer from West Ham which seems good and suits us," Governatori told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"If Liverpool wants him, we need clear arrangements and commitments. West Ham is very keen. And we want to sort out that case before the end of the month."

Liverpool FC Confirm Albert Riera Sale Talks With Olympiacos

Liverpool have confirmed they are now deep in talks over the expected imminent sale of Albert Riera to Olympiacos.

Riera was not part of the young Liverpool squad involved in the recent goalless draw with Grasshopper as negotiations over a potential transfer to the Greek club continued.

Anfield boss Roy Hodgson said today: "Albert Riera did not play as a precaution because negotiations are ongoing with Olympiacos."

Riera was signed by previous Reds manager Rafa Benitez from Spanish side Espanyol two years ago.

But he fell out of favour after a series of controversies, including one infamous training ground incident in which a young member of the club's reserve squad was injured after an ugly confrontation.

Riera, who scored five goals in 56 appearances, also caused furore and insult within the Reds camp more recently when he described Anfield as 'a sinking ship' in an interview with foreign journalists.

Liverpool Talk With Internazionale Over £25m Sale Of Javier Mascherano

Liverpool is in talks with Internazionale over the possible sale of Javier Mascherano after the Italian club made an approach for the midfielder. Roy Hodgson is believed to be ready to sell the Argentina captain at the right price to raise funds, after warning Liverpool supporters that several more signings are needed to lift the "doom and gloom" that enveloped the club last season.

Liverpool want at least £25m for Mascherano, who has made no secret of his desire to move to Inter and link up again with Rafael Benítez, Hodgson's predecessor as manager at Anfield. Mascherano's agent, Walter Tamer, recently said it was his client's "dream" to join the Serie A club and the approach had been anticipated.

Mascherano has been disillusioned at Liverpool for some time, having seen Benítez block a proposed move to Barcelona last summer. Hodgson reported last week that the 26-year-old had not responded to his telephone or text messages while on holiday following the World Cup. He had been keen to discuss the player's future.

The manager will have only a modest amount to spend on transfers unless he increases that budget through sales, meaning Mascherano's departure could suit both parties.

Liverpool Set To Swoop For Manchester City Defender Wayne Bridge

Liverpool are targeting Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge as the solution to their acute left-back problem, UK understands.

Manager Roy Hodgson, having sold Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina and allowed Fabio Aurelio to leave, is ready to pay around £6 million for the former England international.

Bridge has three years remaining on the contract with Manchester City that he signed in January 2009 after a £10m move from Chelsea. However, with the imminent arrival of Aleksandar Kolarov from Lazio for a fee of £17m and the fact that another of Manchester City’s summer signings, Jerome Boateng, played left-back for Germany in this summer’s World Cup, he is unlikely to be given many first-team opportunities at Eastlands - and according to sources close to the player would see Liverpool as a practical alternative.

Since his arrival in Switzerland to take charge of the club’s pre-season preparations, Hodgson has maintained that left-back is a priority position to fill, and he has been linked with Sampdoria’s Reto Ziegler.

“We are short in that area and we do need to find a replacement for Emiliano and Fabio as quickly as possible,” he said before last night’s goalless draw with Grasshoppers Zurich, when he also confirmed that Albert Riera would be allowed to leave for Olympiakos with Philipp Degen likely to go to Stuttgart for a fee of £1.5m.

Last season, Bridge was dogged by a knee injury and poor form that saw him feature in just over half of City’s Premier League games, although he was given strong support from manager Roberto Mancini during the John Terry affair that prompted his international retirement.

This is not the first time that Bridge has contemplated a move to Anfield – he was the subject of a £6m offer from Rafael Benitez in 2008.

Cole: Liverpool Is A Bigger Club Than Chelsea Or Man United

Joe Cole has insisted he has joined Liverpool to win honours at “the biggest club in England”.

The former Chelsea midfielder claimed the history, tradition and fanatical supporters of his new team made his switch a “no brainer”.

He said: “I think players can play for other clubs but with Liverpool you have to live and breathe it. It’s that kind of a place - and I am excited by the challenge.

“I made my decision purely on football terms and I came here because this is a massive club. When I knew Liverpool were interested it was a no-brainer because they are the biggest club in the country.

“Everyone knows it’s a massive club but until you sign you don’t realize quite how big. I have people on my phone who I didn’t even know were Liverpool fans. It seems everyone I bump into is a Liverpool fan - it’s a huge, huge club and it’s a dream come true.”

Cole is convinced that his new team has the quality to surprise the cynics who expect Roy Hodgson’s side to struggle in the new season.

“I have come here to be a success, and my target is to play as many games as I can in this team and achieve something great for the club,” he added.

“I believe I can be part of a team that is capable of doing great things. I will fight to try and win trophies for this club.

“There are world class players here and I am excited about the chance to play alongside them.

“I am proud to be playing for this club and will give my all in every training session and every game to help the club be successful and put some pots in the trophy cabinet.”

Hodgson admits a lot of hard work is required to turn Liverpool’s fortunes around and said: “You don’t change doom and gloom or disenchantment with a signing or two.

“Liverpool Football Club has always been famous for the passion and knowledge of its supporters and they know I can’t put right the disenchantment with a couple of words.

“What we can do is hopefully persuade them we are on the right track, that we’re trying to get things right again and that we’re looking for new investment.

“We know the situation with the owners, the club is for sale and we are trying desperately for the right people to come in and buy the club. In the meantime we are trying our level best to do what we can out here on the training field and on the field of play to get results.

“I can only hope that the people who watch us are aware of the situation, that they have their feet on the ground like we’ve got our feet on the ground and they give us credit if we deserve any for the efforts we make on the field.

“I can assure them we will give everything on the field and I will hope to dispel the gloom and the disenchantment in that way.”

There was more good news from the Liverpool camp yesterday though, as another new signing arrived, with £2m capture from Rangers Danny Wilson insisting he turned down the chance to play in the Champions’ League to go to Anfield.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision to come here as Liverpool are not a team who come in for you every day, so I can’t wait to get started,” the 18 year old explained.

“There were other clubs interested in me who are in the Champions League, but once Liverpool came in for me there was only one team I wanted to go to - coming from Scotland, people may say I might not be ready for this, but that is a challenge I want to put on myself and that’s the reason I came here.”

Pre-Season 2010: Grasshoppers 0 - 0 Liverpool

New Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson kicked off his tenure at the helm of Anfield with a tough draw in Switzerland against Grasshoppers.

After what should have been his first game in charge against Al Hilal in mid-week was called off, Hodgson took his place on the sidelines and saw his side battle for a well earned draw.

New signings Joe Cole and Danny Wilson were not included in the squad, but Spanish star Albert Riera, who has reportedly agreed a deal with Olympiakos, found a place on the bench.

The home side started brightly and pushed forward in the opening stages but were unable to create any clear cut chances as Liverpool began to find their stride and hit back with some creativity through the impressive David Amoo.

David Ngog looked set to break the deadlock on 21 minutes, as the Frenchman found himself one-on-one with the 'keeper following a long ball through the middle, but a late flag ruled him offside before he was able to convert.

Alberto Aquilani then had a great chance to get his pre-season up-and-running but the Italian sent his free kick sailing over the bar from a dangerous position and was none too impressed with himself as his reaction showed.

The former Roma man found himself with another set-piece opportunity moments later, but despite getting his shot on target it was a comfortable save for Benito in the Grasshoppers' goal.

Ngog then had another great chance to open the scoring on 27 minutes, but could only send his shot crashing into the side netting after beating the offside trap and finding himself with only Benito to beat.

Grasshoppers began to test Cavalieri as the half time whistle beckoned, but the Argentine was in good form and denied the lively Steven Zubar before seeing Steven Lang send a powerful volley over the bar.

The Swiss side should have taken the lead on 38 minutes, as Cavalieri could only parry a Salatic shot; Rennella raced in to tap home from three yards out but was prevented by a desperate block from Cavalieri who flung himself in the way.

The second half saw chances limited with defences on top, both sides were restricted to counter-attacking football in an attempt to find the first goal of the game as substitutions began to break up the flow of the match.

As the game entered its closing stages, Ecclestone attempted to liven up proceedings as he broke deep in his own half through the Grasshoppers' defence before unleashing a drive from 25-yards but was unfortunate to see his effort flash just wide.

The Merseysiders struggled to pick up the pace of the game as the clock ticked down, with substitutions taking their toll, however Roy Hodgson will be pleased with his side following an industrious performance.

The hosts should have secured the win in the last minute, as Ayala missed his attempted clearing header, but defender Brindeiro couldn't make the most of his chance and despite being five yards out and unmarked, the ball bounced beneath his swinging leg and out for a goal kick.

That proved to be the last chance of the game, and Hodgson will hope to build on this solid performance as the Reds' continue their preparation for the new season.