Friday, April 01, 2011

Liverpool To Sell Seven To Help Fund £30m Summer Spending Spree

Liverpool are preparing a clear-out as the Anfield side looks to generate funds for significant signings this summer. Kenny Daglish and director of football Damien Comolli have reportedly been considering which players in the club’s squad they are willing to offload and perhaps unsurprisingly a number of those are players brought in by Roy Hodgson.

Milan Jovanovic has failed to make an impact at the club and will be allowed to leave should a decent offer come in for the Serbian who is being chased by a string of Bundesliga sides. Philipp Degen is currently on loan at Stuttgart and the signs are that the Swiss international is unlikely to return to Liverpool.

Paul Konchesky has had a dire time at Liverpool and was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest where he has proved a success and there is talk that Fulham may be interested in buying the 29 year old back and given that he cost the Merseyside club nothing in the first place it could take as little as £1.5m to take the defender back to Craven Cottage.

Christian Poulsen came in for a torrid time during the Hodgson reign and has barely featured since Kenny Dalglish arrived on the scene and the defensive midfielder will be offered at a reduced price of around £3-4m and there is reported interest from some Serie A sides including from Genoa and Cagliari.

Emiliano Insua is also very much up for sale and looked likely to join Fiorentina last summer until the deal stalled but a move to Florence may be back on although the Argentine may seek to stay at Galatasaray where he is currently in the middle of a loan spell.

Alberto Aquilani is having a great season at Juventus and has fought his way back into the Italian national team set-up but the Turin side are unwilling to pay the £15m that Liverpool are demanding, although the 26 year old has stated that he would be open to a return back to England the signs are that there are a number of other Serie A sides who may well be willing to pay the asking price.

Finally Joe Cole stands on something of a precipice. Dalglish is keen to give the former Chelsea man a chance to prove himself and the England international has not really had a run of games to show the Liverpool boss what he has to offer. There is apparently a queue of clubs who would jump at the chance to sign the attacking midfielder with West Ham and Everton apparently willing to take the 29 year old on if he is indeed offloaded.

City Winger Would 'Consider' Possible Liverpool Move

Manchester City winger Adam Johnson would consider a move from Eastlands, with Liverpool keen to sign the England international.

The 23-year-old has recently returned from a long-term ankle injury, but with high competition for places at City, will have few opportunities to impress.

Furthermore the former Middlesborough winger will be looking to get back in Fabio Capello's England squad, which he was left out of for the double header against Wales and Ghana, and Liverpool could offer a way out for Johnson.

"Every footballer has to think about it when the time comes. It is still early but I definitely would consider it," Johnson told the Sun.

Kenny Dalglish is expected to make a winger his top priority in the summer transfer window, as the Liverpool boss searches for a player a genuine crossing ability to provide service to new signing Andy Carroll.

Liverpool's search for a winger has seen them linked with Ashley Young, Charlie Adam and Eden Hazard, but with Johnson deprived of first-team football at City, unlike the aforementioned trio at their respective clubs, the Englishman could soon be on his way to Anfield.

Star Centre Back Open To Liverpool Deal

Werder Bremen have indicated they are willing to sell German star Per Mertesacker in the summer transfer period, with the center back reportedly considering and offer from Liverpool.

The Liverpool website is reporting that Mertesacker is out of contract in 2012, and Werder Bremen are looking at this summer as a good opportunity to sell the 26 year old for a large amount of money.

Mertesacker has openly discussed a desire to move from German football to the Barclays Premier League.

And in a large indication that Mertesacker has an agreement forming to leave Werder Bremen and possibly head to Liverpool, Bremen boss Klaus Allofs has told BILD they are looking at offers.

"If you are not going to hand out an extension to an outrunning contract then you need to know all the possibilities available to you,” he said.

"I am unable to just look after the money, I am also unable to just look after the sport factor.

"As soon as we are aware of our fate in Bundesliga this spring, we are going to clarify if we are able to sign extensions to these contracts."

Werder Bremen currently sits at 12th on the Bundesliga table, and are only five points shy of the relegation zone. Should Bremen be relegated, Mertesacker will be far more likely to come around to the prospect of heading to England for Liverpool, who may be able to offer games in Europe if they qualify this season.

Allofs knows that discussions will be taking place about the centre back’s future, and that should Liverpool come knocking in summer, their budget will be hard to refuse.

"We will be in talks, that is for sure,” he said.

Liverpool Enter Race For £22m Brazilian Star

Liverpool will challenge fellow Premiership rivals Chelsea and La Liga giants Barcelona for the signature of Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian according to reports in the Daily Mail.

The Brazilian midfielder has caught the attention of a number of top clubs around Europe after some impressive performances in this season’s Champions League.

Since Willian moved to the Ukrainian side from Corinthians in 2007 he has made 136 appearances and scored 20 times in all competitions and this season the midfielder has made 17 appearances and netted four times.

His performances have but him on Liverpool's radar with director of football Damien Comolli keen to bring the 22-year-old to Anfield in the summer and the club has already spoken to Shakhtar about the player.

The Merseyside club is currently sixth in the Premier League and is looking to get back into the coveted Champions League places.

Having already acquired the services of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez after a £57million spend spree on the last day of the January transfer window, Kop boss Kenny Dalglish is set to add further additions to his squad in the summer with Willian high on the list.

Shakhtar take on Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday and Liverpool scouts will be out in Barcelona watching the Brazilian's performance.

The Ukrainian side won't be letting one of their star players leave on the cheap and will be looking for around £22m for the player but could make more with a bidding war between the three interest clubs.

Real Sociedad's Xabi Prieto Dismisses Liverpool Link

Real Sociedad midfielder Xabi Prieto has rubbished reports that he could be on his way to Liverpool in the summer for as much as £10 million.

The 27-year-old has spent his entire career with the Basque side and apparently has no desire to make a move away from a club that he holds dear to his heart.

He told the Spanish newspaper AS: "There is nothing to what has been published.

"Liverpool is a very good team, but I've always said I'm happy here."

Prieto has never appeared for the full Spanish national team, but did turn out for the under-21 side earlier in his career.

Dalglish Cautious Over Gerrard Return

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has revealed Steven Gerrard has almost completed his recovery after groin surgery, but he will wait and see whether the club captain will face West Brom on Saturday.

Dalglish believes Gerrard could play in the match after participating in much of training this week, but will not take any risks - as he believes there are players in the squad more than capable of deputizing for at least another week.

"We'll have a look. He's recovered really well from the surgery he had so we'll see how he is before we decide whether he's in or out," Dalglish said. "He's certainly done a lot of training this week - not all the training the other lads have done, but a lot of it.

"But two weekends ago at Sunderland wee Jay [Spearing] played really well. There is no need for us to be in a rush to bring Steven back."

Dalglish was relieved to see all his players return from international duty without picking up injuries. However, he did reveal Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurelio have suffered slight setbacks that could well keep them out of action at the weekend.

"Everyone has come back from international matches okay," Dalglish said. "Martin Kelly picked up an injury while he was trying to recuperate and Jonjo Shelvey is back training. Kelly has just had a wee recurrence in the same area. Fabio Aurelio has had a setback as well but it isn't the same injury. He should be training before the end of the week."

Club record signing Andy Carroll opened his goalscoring account for England in midweek, an achievement Dalglish believes the 22-year-old can rightfully be proud of. The Scot also paid tribute to Fabio Capello's handling of the Liverpool players he picked for both of the Three Lions' games.

"It's a great milestone for Andy to score his first goal, especially at Wembley," he said. "It's a great reward for him as well after his recuperation. It will give him a lift, kick him on further and it's a great reflection of how he's got on with his work and how our medical team has worked to get him there.

"The 60 minutes he got for England was very helpful in his recuperation and his fight to get back to full fitness. The way England treated our players was fantastic: the way they gave Andy the hour because they knew it wouldn't be beneficial to play him longer, and the way they gave Glen Johnson 45 minutes because he had a slight problem with his Achilles. They were very professional and respectful with the way they treated both of our players."

Dalglish admitted Liverpool are still working out how best to utilise Carroll tactically - especially the frequency of long balls played up to him.

"Sometimes when you're struggling a wee bit it's a great asset to have but we've got to pick and choose our moments," he noted. "It's up to us to get to know Andy, and Andy to get to know us. I don't think we've done too badly in the game and a bit he's played for us. We were better the second time than we were the first.

"We've got intelligent lads here and I'm sure they'll work out when's right and when's wrong and they'll get it right most of the time."

Dalglish Defends Carroll

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has laughed off claims Andy Carroll needs to control his drinking habits and says the player knows how to handle himself.

England boss Fabio Capello publicly warned Carroll, who scored his first goal for the Three Lions in the draw with Ghana, to cut down on his drinking.

Dalglish has brushed off the advice from Capello and defended the January signing from Newcastle for the way he has conducted himself since arriving at Anfield.

"Well he's never bought me a drink," said Dalglish. "I've been with him at Boyzone concerts and he's still never bought me a drink!

"Andy Carroll knows what is required of Andy Carroll, and he's done fantastically well getting back to where he has, with his application and dedication.

"Whatever Andy has done, he has done it very well, and somebody else's opinion is up to them. But he cannot be criticized in any way, shape or form for what he has done since he has been here.

"He's done really well to get where he is, so I think Andy is focused on his football."

England Joy For Sterling

There was joy for Raheem Sterling and Brad Smith as they helped England reach the finals of the UEFA U17 Championships after a brilliant 2-1 win over Spain on Thursday night.

The Academy duo played the full 90 minutes, while teammates Adam Morgan and Matty Regan were unused substitutes.

Spain only needed a point to secure qualification, but needing a victory John Peacock's side rose to the occasion and got the vital win.

Nathan Redmond and Adam Jackson netted for England but Sterling and Smith were impressive throughout the game.

England will now join seven other countries, split over two groups of four, in the Finals in Serbia.

The top three countries in each group will then go on to qualify for the FIFA U17 World Cup which is being held in Mexico later this year.

It is a great end to a fantastic week for the Academy's starlets after David Moli was earlier on the mark for England U16s as they beat Scotland 2-1 to clinch the Victory Shield.

Moli netted past his Liverpool Academy teammate Ryan Crump who was in goal for Scotland.

Standard Chartered Want Asian Stars At Anfield

Liverpool shirt sponsors Standard Chartered are hoping the club signs up an Asian star to boost commercial opportunities in the Far East.

Gavin Laws, head of corporate affairs at Standard Chartered, hailed the impact of Manchester United’s South Korean international Park Ji-sung in the region and believes signing a similar talent would be an ideal way for the Reds to connect with the Asian market.

“The real power for what Liverpool could do for us, and I think for the English Premier League, is if there was a way they could nurture foreign players from Asia ... a great Asian player - you see what Park Ji-sung does for Manchester United,” he said.

“The markets in Asia and the Middle East are so nationalistic, they are very proud about their countries. One appearance from a player, say from Dubai in the Premier League, and you’d have the whole of Dubai watching it.”

Laws wants to see Kenny Dalglish signed up as the Reds’ permanent manager.

He said: “I’d like to see Kenny as the long term manager - I’m sure the club would. They are going to be talking to him if they aren’t talking to him already.

“The Kenny magic is all around the world, everybody believes Kenny can take the club (forward) and that means they stay focused and that means they stay in the newspapers around the world... we are looking for brand awareness.”