Friday, July 30, 2010

Jovanovic Snubbed Real To Head To Reds

Liverpool new boy Milan Jovanovic has revealed that he turned down an offer from Real Madrid in favour of making the move to England this summer.

The 29-year-old Serbia international striker chose to join the Reds from Belgian outfit Standard Liege, having feared that he would get lost among a star-studded Real squad.

Jovanovic told reporters: "I think 99 per cent of people I spoke to told me they did not understand why I said no to Real.

"But maybe I am special. I thought if I went it would be as an ordinary player, but that, if I stayed, I would be where I felt good, where I was a star in Belgium.

"It is only a small league, but Standard Liege won two titles and two Super Cups while I was there. So I was very happy.

"Real offered me just a one-year deal with an option for two years. I said four, they said no and so I turned them down. Maybe they are the biggest club in the world, but I always knew that other big clubs would come.

"I will never go somewhere where I only play a small part. Why? It is better to be happy somewhere. Now I only want to look forward and play for Liverpool. "

Roy Riled By Young Rumours

Roy Hodgson has dodged questions regarding reports that Liverpool has made a bid to sign Aston Villa full-back Luke Young.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill earlier confirmed that he has received an offer for the former England international, but he has not revealed the name of the club.

Speculation has suggested that Hodgson has tendered £2.75million for Young, a right-back who can play on the left, as he looks for a replacement to Fabio Aurelio and Emiliano Insua.

The Liverpool boss was therefore quizzed on the topic ahead of a Europa League qualifier against FK Rabotnicki, but he refused to confirm or deny the rumours.

Hodgson, who appeared agitated when the subject switched away from Thursday's match, said of Young and conjecture that winger Maxi Rodriguez could be poised to leave: "They are not playing."

Hodgson was also unhappy when asked about the truth of reports that Insua's proposed move to Fiorentina had hit a snag.

"No information to be given about that," he said.

When another question was asked about the difficulties of trying to sign English players, to comply with new Premier League squad rules, in the current market, Hodgson decided to make a firm point.

He said: "We're changing the subject. I don't think it's right in a room full of Macedonian journalists to be talking about things like homegrown rules and English players.

"I think we should be talking about the game, because that is what interests people.

"The subjects you are bringing up now are subjects for a future press conference.

"It is quite important in these last seven minutes that the questions I try to answer, and I gladly will for the Macedonians, will be about the football match and not things like systems of play and future transfer targets or the long-term future of English football."

Young's Liverpool Move In Doubt Over Villa Pay-Off

Luke Young has risked the wrath of Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill by stalling on a move to Liverpool as he wants a pay-off.

Liverpool has agreed a fee of £2.5million with Villa for the unsettled versatile defender, who earns currently around £40,000-a-week.

But Young is insisting on a 'golden goodbye' from Villa Park before leaving as he would have to take a drop in wages at Liverpool.

Right-back Young, 31, joined Villa in August 2008 from Middlesbrough on a bumper contract.

And his tough stance means his relationship with O'Neill is set to plummet to a new all-time low.

Young has been unhappy for months after being played left-back before losing his right-back berth to central defender Carlos Cuellar.

And O'Neill now needs to generate funds for transfers after being ordered to sell-to-buy this summer.

O'Neill has been told to cut the club's annual £70m wage bill before owner Randy Lerner sanctions any new additions.

And the Villa boss has warned Young he may not be included in their official 25-man Premier League squad if he rejects the chance to go.

"We will see how that develops," said O'Neill, who has omitted Young from Villa's squad for this weekend's Guadiana Cup in Portugal.

"He is having a think about it. If he chooses to go that's it, if he chooses to stay then he needs to start playing because with the new rules I have to name a 25-man squad for the Premier League."

Liverpool Face Battle To Keep Daniel Pacheco As Striker Mulls Real Sociedad Approach

Daniel Pacheco has excited Liverpool fans with his performances for Spain at the Under 19 European Championship.

But the forward admits he can see little chance of breaking through at Anfield and is tempted by a move to Real Sociedad.

The Basque club is keen to strike a deal for the 19-year-old and Pacheco revealed he had been taking guidance from former Liverpool and Sociedad midfielder Xabi Alonso.

'Of course, playing for Real (Sociedad) appeals to me, without doubt,' he told El Mundo Deportivo. 'I have heard good things about the club, the city and the people, and if things move in that direction, I will be happy to play there.'

Alonso, now a key part of the Real Madrid midfield, played for five years at Sociedad before joining Liverpool in 2004.

'He (Xabi) has been helping and advising me,' said Pacheco. 'I've been told good things about the coach. They say he bets on youngsters who have character, who like to play.

'I've been told about Zubieta (the training ground), the way they work and the humilty of the club. Everything I hear is good.'

It is unclear whether Liverpool will be prepared to let go of a young talent who has helped Spain's Under 19s to the Euro final in France, but Pacheco fears for his chances at Liverpool after so far making just seven appearances in three years since being signed from Barcelona.

'I don't know much about the negotiations,' he said. 'I'd like to play in La Liga. Above all I want game time or to fight for game time.

'In Liverpool I won't get this opportunity and I would love to have it. Right now the club is signing people and I don't think I will have opportunities. At 19 years old the most important thing is to continue progressing.'

Liverpool Plot Shock Move For Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson wants Aston Villa midfield general Stiliyan Petrov as the shock replacement for transfer-seeking Javier Mascherano.

Hodgson admires the Bulgarian star's style and is ready to pay around £7 million for him as he looks to cash in on Argentinian Mascherano by selling him to Inter Milan coach Rafa Benitez.

The Kop are looking to land both Petrov and right back Luke Young in a surprise double raid as they try to bring in seasons professionals for a demanding campaign.

Petrov, 30, is one of the Premier League's most respect operators and a key man for Martin O'Neill who brought him to Villa from Celtic where he was also a legend.

The Bulgarian star is aware of the Liverpool interest and could be keen on a move to Anfield - although Villa are desperate to keep their squad together despite so many being wanted men.

Hodgson wants a proven midfield schemer to play an anchor role in the Liverpool side. He expects Mascherano to move on, which would leave just Brazilian Lucas Leiva for that position - with Xabi Alonso never properly replaced.

Petrov may not seem the most charismatic capture, but he is in the right mould for Hodgson who plans to put his own well-drilled imprint on the Anfield side this season and beyond.

Liverpool Now Making Enquiries For Two Tottenham Players

On the heels of the news recently here at The Tavern that Roy Hodgson’s search for a left back had led to him looking at Tottenham’s Benoit Assou Ekotto, it’s now emerging that speculation by The Times the other week wasn’t too shabby at all.

The new Liverpool manager has only had it confirmed in the last few days that Fernando Torres was committing. But either way, he has made an approach to Tottenham to see what their plans are with Peter Crouch.

With Tottenham’s pretty public courting of a new striker, Peter Crouch looks set to slide further down the pecking order at White Hart Lane. Defoe can seemingly do no wrong and whoever Spurs ship in this season must surely be given guarantees that he’ll start.

Crouch left Liverpool to get first team action at Portsmouth. Redknapp is a Crouch fan and one who seems to have little faith in any of his strikers other than Defoe. But the real question is how many strikers do Tottenham need on the payroll?

Liverpool under Hodgson could well play 442. How the Anfield faithful respond to this is pretty straightforward, if it works, they’ll back it. Whatever Roy’s plans are, they certainly appear to have passed muster amongst Gerrard, Cole and Torres.

Liverpool Interest Confirmed Despite Facebook Fiasco

According to reports in Spain, Real Madrid have received an enquiry from Liverpool in regards to their winger Royston Drenthe.

Earlier in the week a Facebook account purporting to be the 23-year-old Dutchman claimed he had signed for the Premier League side only for it to be exposed as a bogus account.

Although the report was later rubbished, Spanish daily AS claim Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has indeed made tentative enquiries for the ex-Holland Under-21 international and with Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho undecided about the winger’s future, a deal remains a distinct possibility.

Liverpool is believed to be looking for a left-sided fullback, following the departure of Fabio Aurelio and Emiliano Insua.

Drenthe joined Real Madrid in 2007 on the back of his superb performances during the Under-21 European Championships, but his career in La Liga has stalled somewhat and reports in Spain suggest he may be line for a move to the Premier League.

New York-based Liverpool Fans Join Calls For American Owners To Walk Away

Liverpool’s New York Supporters Club have joined the calls for Tom Hicks and George Gillett to sell the club immediately.

LFCNY, which is the oldest and biggest fans club in North America, is joining forces with Spirit of Shankly to crank up the pressure on the Reds’ owners.

In a statement they labelled Hicks and Gillett as "financial parasites" and urged them to "get out of our club".

It read: "They are nothing more than financial parasites who are using the club we have known and loved all our lives for nothing more than increasing their bank balances.

"They care not for our 18 League Championships; they care not for our 5 European Cups; they care not for our 3 UEFA Cups; they care not for our 7 FA Cups; they care not for our 7 League Cups; they care not for our 3 European Super Cups.

"They care not for the Liverpool way, for the fans, for the history, for the memories, for the glories of our great club. For the glory that is Liverpool FC.

"They are not fit and proper persons to be the guardians of Liverpool FC.

"All they have contributed to Liverpool FC since that horrendous day in February 2007 is shame and dishonor.

"When they arrived, the club debt stood at £44.8 million; we were told that their debts incurred in buying the club would not be foisted upon the club. We were also told that work would begin on a new stadium in 60 days.

"This summer, the debt of Liverpool FC is £350 million and there are no plans for any stadium and the manager Rafael Benitez has been fired.

"Lies, subterfuge and debts. This has been the sad and sorry story of the tenure of Tom Hicks and George Gillett at Liverpool FC.

"In coming weeks, the LFCNY will be working closely with all the other Liverpool supporters’ clubs in North America and Spirit of Shankly to make sure that these two men will have nothing more to do with Liverpool FC.

"The people of Liverpool, the fans worldwide and the club itself deserves better than the steady diet of falsehoods and insults that have been served up by Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

"Get out of our club now and forever. You’ve done enough damage. Go before you do any more."