Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Liverpool Order Dalglish To Plan Squad Clearout For Big Summer Spend

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has been told to clear the decks in preparation for a summer spending spree.

The Mirror says there will be more changes in the summer.

The manager will be allowed to sell more players to add to income provided by the American owners.

The likes of Lucas, Joe Cole, Daniel Agger, Fabio Aurelio and even possibly Glen Johnson could leave, along with a host of players currently stuck out on loan who are remnants of the Rafa Benitez era.

Bruce Admits Carroll Miss

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce says he lost out on the chance to sign Andy Carroll for £4.5million while managing at Wigan, because it was beyond his budget.

Carroll, who broke the British transfer record when he arrived at Liverpool from Newcastle for £35million on transfer deadline day, caught Bruce's eye while playing for the Magpies just over three years ago.

Bruce claims then Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear offered him the striking ace for £4.5m, but the Latics could only stretch to £2.5m and the deal fell through.

He told The Journal: "Andy Carroll could quite easily have ended up being my player.

"When I was Wigan manager, we were hammering Newcastle 2-0 but they brought him on and he played well - really well. He made a hell of a difference.

"On the Monday morning I rang up Joe Kinnear and asked him if he would sell Andy. They quoted me £4.5m and I seriously thought about it, but in the end we could only go to £2.5m.

"I had Emile Heskey at the time as well and I did wonder if he and Carroll would work together up front."

Injury has hampered Carroll's start to life at Anfield, with the 22-year-old making just two appearances for the Reds so far, both of which were off the bench.

But the striker is in line to make his full Premier League debut against Sunderland on Sunday, and Bruce is aware of the threat he will pose to the Black Cats' backline.

"I'm sure Andy will make his full Premier League debut against us although I hope the niggle he has lasts for a bit longer!" said Bruce.

"That will present a challenge both to him and to us. I honestly wish him the best of luck."

He added: "He is the old-fashioned British No 9 and it will be interesting to see how he does and how he manages for Liverpool.

"He has got a wonderful opportunity and I am sure he has a fantastic future because he is so different."

Hamburg Spy Martin Skrtel Chance If Liverpool Return For Eljero Elia

Sources in Germany suggest that should Liverpool return in the summer for Hamburg’s Dutch winger Eljero Elia, the Bundesliga club will ask for defender Martin Skrtel to be included in any deal.

The Slovak centre back has many fans throughout German football, with Wolfsburg keen to sign the player in the recent January transfer window.

Skrtel is happy at Anfield and has denied having to field concrete offers, but nevertheless the Slovak could have a decision to make if Liverpool consent to Hamburg’s demands.

While it is by no means certain that the Reds will return for Elia at the end of the season, particularly given that winger Sylvain Marveaux is on the verge of agreeing a switch to Anfield, should Liverpool try again for the Dutchman then Hamburg will make the inclusion of Skrtel a make-or-break point of any deal.

Alexis Sanchez Will Cost Liverpool £30 million

Liverpool have been told they will need to offer £30 million to land Udinese star Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean international has been linked with a number of clubs from across Europe after impressing in Serie 'A', with Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli a known admirer of the player.

Manchester United and Chelsea are also thought to be keen on the player, while Juventus lead the chase from Italy and Barcelona in Spain.

Valuations have varied for the player, but fresh reports from Italy claim the Zebrette will accept £30 million for the player at the end of the season, reports talkSPORT.

Former Reds boss Roy Hodgson was the first Merseysiders chief to take an interest in the player, and current Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is also thought to be interested.

Liverpool has been linked with a number of wingers and forwards in recent weeks, with Ashley Young, Eden Hazard and Fernando Llorente all thought to be potential attacking targets.

With money not thought to be an issue at Anfield and NESV proving they are willing to spend big in January, a £30 million offer from Liverpool could be a possibility for the player dubbed 'the new Ronaldo' in certain sections of the press.

Liverpool To Battle Newcastle For Ricky van Wolfswinkel

While Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll have settled well at Anfield, it remains general consensus that Liverpool would do well to add an additional forward in the summer to increase the squad's versatility and depth.

Now, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, a previous Liverpool target, looks likely to fill that void, as his agent has confirmed that Liverpool has maintained interest even after the January window.

A January move to Anfield seemed a distinct possibility for the 22-year-old Utrecht star, but such was derailed by an injury that kept him out of action from December to February.

Newcastle, holding a £35 million war chest following the sale of Carroll, is also confirmed to be interested in van Wolfswinkel. Neither club, however, has made anything official.

"There is nothing in place yet regarding a transfer for Ricky [Van Wolfswinkel]. At this moment there is no update. He has returned to action and has scored a couple of times, and is coming back well from injury." agent Louis Laros told

"We are still working towards a move this summer but I have nothing finalised yet.

"I have not spoken to either club in the past three weeks. In the winter break both clubs told me they would follow him and keep an eye on him. In the next coming months we will see, so I will wait for contact.

"If there was the possibility of the Premier League, Ricky would love it. But obviously we must respect the club and what they want to do in the summer. Ricky is still young and he wants to better himself, so if a club offers him a deal he will look at it. But it depends on the club, the manager, and the ambitions of the club."

Juventus Unlikely To Keep Alberto Aquilani Unless Liverpool Offer Discount

Alberto Aquilani looks set for a Liverpool return at the end of the season as Juventus appear reluctant on paying €15 million to keep him permanently.

The 26-year-old Italian midfielder joined the Bianconeri on loan in the summer with the Turin-based club having an option to buy him permanently at the end of their deal with Liverpool in June.

However, Sky Sport Italia reports directors at Vinovo are not intent on paying the Reds €15m price tag.

They are hoping Liverpool will lower their demands, and, if that doesn't happen, the former Roma man will head back to Anfield.

Meanwhile, reports Juventus as having offered Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo, whose contract expires at the end of the season, a three-year deal in preparation for Aquilani's exit.

Pirlo, 31, is said to have received a pay offer worth €3.5m per annum from the Old Lady, but Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea are also believed to be in the frame as his deal with the Rossoneri expires in June.

Reina Dismisses Suggestions He Is Best Liverpool Goalkeeper Ever

Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has shrugged off claims that he is the club’s best-ever goalkeeper.

It has been suggested that Reina, 28, is better than club legends such as Ray Clemence, Bruce Grobbelaar and Tommy Lawrence.

Reina has picked up four out of the last five golden gloves - the award given for the most Premier League clean sheets every season - and also set a club record when he recorded 100 clean sheets in just 198 appearances.

However, the Spaniard says it is hard to compare goalkeepers from different eras.

“It makes me proud. It’s something really big, but in Liverpool’s history there have been great goalkeepers,” Reina was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“It’s difficult to say who the best are because the times and the rules change. It’s difficult to compare us all.

“I’m not sure my hands would be good without gloves. It was a different kind of situation and in the past there were probably more difficult moments.”

If Reina starts against Braga in the Europa League on Thursday night, he will record his 300th appearance for the Merseyside club; a feat the stopper never expected to achieve.

“No, I didn’t really think it would happen,” he added.

“It was difficult to think, because you’re moving to a new country and you don’t know how you’re going to settle down or what the people are going to think about you.

“I’m really proud of the amount of games I’ve played. It’s not something I imagined.

“I trust myself and I knew I could be a good keeper here, but to play 300 games - I think I’ve been really lucky and I’m really proud to have played in each one.”

Reds Receive Double Boost

Liverpool duo Daniel Agger and Jonjo Shelvey have returned to training as the club prepare to face Braga on Thursday.

Both players were suffering from knee injuries sustained in February, but the news will come as a welcome boost to Reds boss Kenny Dalglish, who has seen captian Steven Gerrard, among others, head to the treatment room.

According to the Scot, Danish defender Aggeris likely to make a return quicker than talented youngster Shelvey, who was starting to make more of an impact under Dalglish than his predecessor Roy Hodgson.

Despite their returns, both are almost certain not to feature in the squad for the Europa League round of 16 second leg against the Portuguese outfit, where the Meseyside giants trail 1-0.

Dalglish told the club's official website: "Daniel Agger is improving. He is back training. Jonjo is back training as well.

"Daniel is closer than Jonjo."

Full-backs Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurelio were injured in recent weeks and Dalglish conceded that they still had some distance to go before resuming full training.

"Fabio and Martin are doing a little bit but haven't joined in with too much exercise yet," he added.

"They are all progressing."

Mystery Over Role Of Agent Liverpool Used In Andy Carroll Transfer

Liverpool used the services of a little-known agent, David Bromley, who is based in Maidstone, Kent, when they signed Andy Carroll from Newcastle United for £35m on 31 January. Carroll himself stated on his contract that he did not use the services of an agent at all; a solicitor, Richard Green, said he had advised him.

Liverpool declined to explain why they had used Bromley, what work he had done on the deal, or how much they had paid him, but did acknowledge in a statement that the club did "use the services of an agent on the transfer".

Carroll is reported to be in dispute with his former agent, Peter Harrison, who claims he had a valid two-year contract to represent Carroll at the time the player moved to Liverpool. Harrison, who represented Carroll from the age of 16, is reported to have sued the player for loss of earnings, which has been referred to arbitration. Harrison is understood to claim that Carroll had wanted to be represented by Kevin Nolan's agent, Mark Curtis, while Harrison's contract still had months to run.

Although Bromley holds a Fifa licence and is registered with the FA, he is not a prominent agent known for acting on high-profile deals. He does, however, have a long, close association with Curtis, having been a co-director in three companies, including two football agencies, Direct Sports Management, which is now not trading, and Sports Player Management, which went into liquidation and was struck off the companies register in January 2008. The other, Property Hunter, was dissolved last year.

Football Association rules governing the conduct of agents require them to have written contracts with any player they represent, for a maximum of two years. If a player breaks a contract with an agent, as Harrison claims Carroll did, the agent can sue for lost earnings. If the player renegotiates his contract or moves clubs within the two years for which the contract runs, he cannot be represented by another agent, or the FA will treat it as a poaching case, a breach of the agents' code of conduct. Curtis is not on Carroll's contract as having acted at all for either side.

Abritration proceedings are confidential and Harrison declined to comment on the revelation that Bromley, Curtis's associate, acted for Liverpool. Newcastle did not answer a series of questions about how the deal worked, neither did Curtis nor Bromley.