Thursday, May 19, 2011

Liverpool Vie With Madrid For In Demand South American Winger

Liverpool is one of four clubs still tracking Fiorentina's Juan Vargas, according to the Metro.

The Peruvian winger has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus in the past.

But rumours were rife last month that a bid of £13 million had been submitted for the dead-ball specialist from Liverpool, and the player's agent Jorge Cyterszpiler says there is plenty of interest surrounding the player.

"Fiorentina is a great club but there are many teams interested in Juan," he said.

"We’ll see if some agreement is reached, if this does not happen, Juan will happily stay at Fiorentina.

"We are still waiting to see what happens."

Kenny Dalgish, Liverpool's new permanent manager, has put a winger at the top of his transfer wish list, as he seeks someone to supply £35 million striker Andy Carroll.

As well as Vargas, Liverpool has been linked with Charlie Adam, Ashley Young and Xabi Prieto as they look to fill the problem position.

Reds Eye N'Zogbia Move

Liverpool will look to land Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia if they fail in their efforts to sign Stewart Downing from Aston Villa.

Villa want to keep hold of their England man but there is uncertainty over the future at Villa Park, with questions marks over Gerard Houllier's position as manager, that may or may not help in Liverpool's efforts to land him and they could instead turn to N'Zogbia.

Wigan face a massive battle to keep hold of the French ace as there is a long list of clubs all willing to offer £7m to land the player if they are relegated, while if they stay up then the Latics will hope to keep him.

Liverpool are joined by Tottenham, Aston Villa, Sunderland and his former club Newcastle along with Italian giants Juventus are also in the race to sign him.

Liverpool In Raid For Smart Alex

Liverpool’s commitment to recruiting the best young talent has been underlined further by the signing of Irish starlet Alex O’Hanlon.

Schoolboy O’Hanlon, 15, plays for Dublin’s fabled St Kevin’s Boys’ Club which launched the career of Liam Brady as well as Damien Duff, Stephen Carr and Ian Harte.

The left-back is rated as one of the most exciting talents to emerge from Ireland in years and has caused a stampede of interest among England’s elite, having spent time at Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton.

Manchester United hoped to sign him, having previously lured teenager Robert Brady from St Kevin’s. Brady, 19, no relation to Liam, was an unused substitute for United’s 3-2 Carling Cup win over Wolves in October but Liverpool have stolen a march on their rivals for a player who has been likened to Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.

O’Hanlon has visited Liverpool’s training ground Melwood and St Kevin’s will receive compensation in accordance with UEFA’s guidelines, which will rise depending on progress.

Suggestions they could net as much as £2million have been dismissed, but Brendan Bermingham, secretary of St Kevin’s Boys’ Club, said: “He is very highly thought of. He’s an excellent full-back and hopefully he might turn out like Gareth Bale.

“He’s got a really good attitude, quiet and unassuming. He’s just football, football, football.”

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner stressed on Sunday’s flying visit to Merseyside for the game with Tottenham the importance of a strong academy set-up.

The emergence of Jonathan Flanagan, Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and Jack Robinson has been a major plus point and Raheem Sterling, 16, and Connor Coady, 18, are set for first-team squad places next season.

Liverpool Make Formal Bid For £20m Rated “New Ronaldo”

Liverpool has made a formal approach for £20million-rated rising star Eden Hazard.

Anfield chiefs asked the young winger’s French side Lille to keep them informed of all developments in the close-season chase for the Belgium international.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is ready to battle it out with other interested parties, such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid, for the signature of one of the finest new talents in European football.

Hazard won’t come cheap. He has been valued at £20million by Lille, and is sure to command a massive fee with such a clamour for his services from the top clubs.

Liverpool believes they may have an edge in their attempts to sign the midfielder though, as they have already illustrated they can give first team opportunities to young players.

They will offer the 20-year-old a fast-track into the first team and, even though the Anfield side will not be in the Champions League next season, which could persuade the player to ignore the more obvious claims of other clubs.

Hazard said this week he is ready to move to a “big club” in the summer, but in the past has insisted he is not motivated merely by money and will instead make the move based on a clearly defined career path.

Sven Goran Eriksson Wants Paul Konchesky To Help Leicester Promotion Bid

Leicester is willing to give Paul Konchesky a route out of Liverpool.

The left back has endured a dreadful first season at Anfield after being heavily criticized by his own fans and shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest.

Kenny Dalglish has put a new left-back at the top of his shopping list and Konchesky, 30, has been linked with a return to Fulham but Leicester boss Sven Goran Eriksson is looking to build a squad capable of promotion next season.

Alberto Aquilani’s Agent Remains Unclear On Player's Juventus Future

The agent of Alberto Aquilani has remained unclear on the future of his player, but has reiterated that his client would prefer to stay in Italy if an opportunity to do so became available.

Aquilani was signed by Liverpool in 2009 for £20million as Xabi Alonso departed for Real Madrid, but his time at Anfield has been scuppered by injury, and he has spent the season on loan at Juventus.

Whilst Kenny Dalglish had indicated he would be willing to welcome the 27-year-old back into the Merseyside fold, his agent Franco Zavaglia has stated Aquilani’s preference to remain in his homeland despite no concrete offer from any of the top clubs in Serie A.

"I don't know if there are still possibilities for him to remain at Juventus, I cannot say, you have to ask to Juventus," Zavaglia told Calciomercatoweb.

"I had to do everything I did in September, now it depends on them and I cannot talk about figures.

"Aquilani is a Liverpool player and will possibly return to England, but it is clear that, if there was the opportunity to stay in Italy he'd stay here.

"Inter Milan and AC Milan for the player? No, currently there aren't these opportunities. A return to Roma? There is nothing."

Pearce To Make Carroll Decision Today

Stuart Pearce will make his decision today on whether Andy Carroll is named in the England under-21 squad for the European Championships this summer with a row brewing over the Liverpool striker's suitability for the trip.

The England under-21s manager has to make a decision on the fitness of the striker, who has played just nine club games since December, knowing that Liverpool don't want him to play in the tournament in Denmark.

The consensus at Liverpool is that Carroll needs the summer to rest – he has an ongoing knee problem – and that having played for the senior England team, no purpose is served with him dropping down a level.

However, that has to be balanced with Pearce's determination to call up Jack Wilshere, already a key member of Fabio Capello's senior team but one who has Рunlike Carroll Рoutlined his desire to play in the tournament. If Carroll is left out and Wilshere is included the likelihood is that Ars̬ne Wenger will lodge a strong protest. Arsenal is worried about the effects of a summer tournament on Wilshere's fitness. Unlike Carroll, Wilshere has played a key role in the under-21s qualification for the tournament.

The main determining factor on Carroll's selection will be his fitness and even if he is named in the under-21s squad for Denmark today he may yet be left out at a later date if his knee proves to be a problem. The England under-21s squad will be announced this afternoon.

Shelvey Enjoying Dalglish Effect

Jonjo Shelvey believes the fact that Liverpool are in contention for a place in Europe is a testament to the work of Kenny Dalglish.

A defeat to Tottenham last weekend means that Liverpool will go into their final game of the season requiring a win at Aston Villa to have a chance of finishing fifth in the Premier League.

But a draw could also be enough for the Anfield club, if Spurs slip up at home to Birmingham, as their superior goal difference would then secure a place in the Europa League.

And 19-year-old Shelvey thinks that Dalglish deserves immense credit for his revitalizing impact after inheriting a side from Roy Hodgson at the beginning of 2011 which had been struggling in the bottom half of the table.

Shelvey, a summer signing from Charlton in 2010, said at an event to launch the new Adidas Predator boot in London: "In January, when the boss took over, you would not have expected us to be fifth come the end of the season.

"We were struggling, even though the training was good and Roy was a good manager.

"I just think Kenny has got everyone going and you can tell around the place there is a massive team spirit and it is showing in our performances.

"He has got us passing and moving, which Liverpool fans want to see, and I think it is good because he has given a lot of youngsters a chance as well."

Shelvey missed more than two months of the season with a knee injury, but since returning in the draw with Arsenal in mid-April he has been given regular opportunities by Dalglish.

Although mainly used as a substitute, Shelvey has been offered words of encouragement by his manager, as the midfielder explained: "He has said that I am in his plans. I have got a lot to look forward to.

"I am still a young boy, I'm still learning, which is why it is good to play with players like Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt, and learn day in, day out from them."

Daniel Agger To Raise Cash For Danish Soldiers

Daniel Agger will auction off a host of sporting memorabilia next month to raise money for Danish soldiers who have been injured in Afghanistan.

The Liverpool defender is holding a charity gala dinner in Copenhagen on Saturday, June 4.

Some of the items up for grabs include an Agger Liverpool shirt signed by the Reds squad, Steven Gerrard’s boots, Pepe Reina’s gloves, a Brazil shirt worn by Lucas Leiva, and a replica 1986 FA Cup final jersey autographed by Kenny Dalglish.

All funds raised will be donated to Soldaterlegatet – a Danish charity formed to help soldiers wounded in conflict – and it’s a cause close to Agger’s heart.

“There is so much focus on the soldiers when they’re leaving Denmark and going to war, but not so much when they come back,” he said.

“I always wanted to be a soldier and go into the army, so I thought if I could do something to raise awareness and focus on the soldiers coming back it would be well worth it.

"That’s why I decided to go for an event like this. It’s the first of many I am planning to do.

“There are all sorts of items up for auction from current and former Liverpool players. I have about 35 to 40 items to sell up to now. They’re mostly football-related, but tennis world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki has given me her racket to auction, while the boxer Mikkel Kessler has supplied me with his boots.”

Kop Stars Make Annie's Day

Thousands of Liverpool fans waited patiently to meet their heroes as Reds stars took time out to sign the new away jersey in official club stores last week - including one very special lady.

100-year-old Annie Kelland, who celebrated her landmark birthday on January 2, was treated to a stadium and museum tour at Anfield before coming face-to-face with Joe Cole and Jonjo Shelvey at the kit launch.

Annie, who has been a Kopite all of her life and attends as many matches as possible, donned all Red for the occasion - including some rather fetching red and white socks.

And as you can see from the picture, Annie certainly seemed to enjoy the day.