Saturday, June 11, 2011

Comolli Reveals Reds Transfer Strategy

Liverpool’s director of football Damien Comolli says a transfer target's experience in the Barclays Premier League is of the upmost importance, as the club decide who will be wearing the red jersey next season.

When asked if Liverpool were targeting English players, Comolli said that the experience of English football was more the direction the club was heading in with new signings.

“It's not because a player is English and young that we are going to go for him,” Comolli told the official Liverpool website.

“We go for a player because he ticks all the boxes. It's what we need at this time in this window.

“If a player is English or British or has played in the Premier League we'll look at that over someone who is abroad, but it could be any nationality as long as they tick the boxes and is what we need for this window and going forward.”

Liverpool haven’t been a club to show their cards early in the transfer window very often, however Comolli said using the 'first in best dressed' strategy this time around would hopefully give the Merseyside club an edge over their rivals.

“That's the way I personally like to work,” Comolli said, in regards to snapping up talent quickly.

“The earlier the better, because we can then readjust our strategy or decide we aren't going to do any more - which won't be the case now!”

'Liverpool And Villarreal Seek Silvestre'

Catania general manager Pietro Lo Monaco reveals “Liverpool and Villarreal are interested in Matias Silvestre.”

The Argentine defender is one of several players expected to leave the Stadio Massimino over the summer.

“Top of the list of those moving on is Silvestre,” Lo Monaco told Itasportpress.

“I’d struggle to keep him here, considering what a great player he is. There are two Italian clubs tracking him, but Liverpool and Villarreal are also interested in Silvestre.

“Silvestre is worth as much as Thiago Silva and scores more goals.

“As for Maxi Lopez, he will leave if there is a decent offer, otherwise he’ll stay with us. Cristian Llama and Marco Biagianti are 100 per cent staying at Catania.

“We turned down an offer for Mario Gomez from a European club. We’re not sure about Taka Morimoto, but it’s probable he will remain.”

Catania presented new Coach Vincenzo Montella to the media today.

Connor Wickham Still Hopeful Of Anfield Switch

Ipswich Town teenager Connor Wickham is reportedly keen on a move to Liverpool, as Sunderland enter the race for his signature.

According to the Daily Express, the Black Cats are ready to table a £9 million bid for the 18-year-old striker, but Wickham still 'favours' a switch to Merseyside.

It has been claimed that Liverpool have already submitted a bid of £7 million for the England under 21 international, but they are likely to have to up the ante if they are serious about bringing Wickham to Anfield.

Wickham shot to prominence last season, scoring nine goals for Ipswich, before being named Football League Young Player of the Year as well as the Championship Apprentice of the Year at the 2011 Football League Awards.

And, despite the youngster signing a one-year contract extension at Portman Road in April, Liverpool remains hopeful Wickham can add to the recent influx of England youngsters to Anfield.

The big-money signings of Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson - as well as Liverpool missing out on Phil Jones - seems to suggest that the Reds have a strategy of investing in home-grown talent.

However, Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli says that is not strictly true.

"It's not because a player is English and young that we are going to go for him. We go for a player because he ticks all the boxes. It's what we need at this time in this window," he told the official Liverpool website.

"If a player is English or British or has played in the Premier League we'll look at that over someone who is abroad but it could be any nationality as long as they tick the boxes and is what we need for this window and going forward."

Why Gael Clichy Is On The Brink Of Swapping Arsenal For Liverpool

A busy summer for Arsenal is becoming a frantic one.

With Arsene Wenger attempting to plug the holes in his leaky central defence, another situation vacant will soon emerge at left-back.

As revealed by last month, Gael Clichy has told the club that he wants to leave Emirates Stadium after rejecting at least two new contract offers in the last few months.

It leaves Arsenal in a similar situation to that in which they find themselves with Samir Nasri – cash in on a disaffected player or run the risk of him entering the final year of his contract with the unwelcome possibility that he could leave on a Bosman free in 12 months.

Apart from the fact that it smacks once again of poor governance by a board and an executive that has always prided itself on its competence in this area, it means the continued break-up of the post-Invincibles team.

Liverpool’s initial opening offer of £5 million for Arsenal’s longest-serving player is not much below the asking price of £5.5m that was quoted to potential suitors who had been alerted to Clichy’s potential availability in the summer transfer window.

Anfield director of football Damien Comolli knows Clichy better than most, given that he was instrumental in bringing the Frenchman to London from Cannes in 2003 when he was working under Wenger as Arsenal’s French scout.

While Liverpool cannot offer Champions League football next season, they can promise a future that looks far more enticing on Merseyside now that it did six months ago. Given his age – Clichy does not turn 26 until next month – experience, reliability and reputation as a solid professional and even more solid citizen, it seems a relative bargain for Liverpool although the Frenchman can demand a significant hike on his £50,000-a-week Arsenal wages.

Clichy’s options on the Continent have diminished in recent weeks. He has held informal talks with Inter but the Serie A giants are close to completing a deal to sign Japanese full-back Yuto Nagatomo for £7.5m from Cesena following a successful loan spell at the San Siro in the second half of the season.

Juventus made an enquiry for Clichy but have signed Reto Ziegler from Sampdoria on a Bosman free, while Bayern Munich, who have also pursued the left-back, have shored up their defence by tying up a £5m deal for Brazilian right-back Rafinha. Versatile club captain Philip Lahm is expected to revert back to left-back, a position he has filled many times for the national team.

A possibility remains for Clichy at newly cash-rich Roma, who are in the market for a proven left-back but it now appears that Liverpool’s main rivals for his signature are Manchester City.

The Sheikh Mansour-bankrolled club has two senior left-backs in Alexander Kolarov and Wayne Bridge, who has returned to Eastlands following his loan spell at West Ham, as well as the versatile Pablo Zabaleta, who can fill in on either full-back position.
City will need to move on Kolarov and Bridge to create room for Clichy, although understands that they have asked to be kept informed about the Frenchman’s situation.

It is in Arsenal’s interest that there is a bidding war for a player who has been in north London for eight years.

One thing is certain. It will now take a considerable U-turn for Clichy to accept the improved contract from Arsenal and commit himself once again to a club where the exit door could swing off its hinges in the coming weeks.

Lucas Joy At Copa Call

Lucas Leiva has been named in the Brazil squad for this summer's Copa America tournament in Argentina.

The Liverpool midfielder is included in coach Mano Menezes's 22-man squad for the finals, which begin on July 1.

Writing on his official Twitter page, Lucas Tweeted: "I am very happy to be in the squad to play Copa America. 20th of June I meet the team to start the preparation."

Brazil kick-off their quest for the Copa America in Group B against Venezuela on July 3.

They'll then take on Paraguay (July 9) and Ecuador (July 13).

Gerrard Itching For Suarez Link-Up

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard can't wait to form a partnership with Luis Suarez next season, following the Uruguayan's awesome impact since his arrival from Ajax.

The £22.7 million January transfer window signing has scored four goals since his move to Anfield, but only played with Gerrard on three occasions, before the club’s inspirational skipper was crocked with a groin problem.

But with the new season on the horizon, Gerrard is excited at the prospect of playing alongside Suarez.

"You know within two or three days of training with someone what they are going to be like - Luis has got it," he said.

"He's a winner and a fighter. Everyone is talking about his skills and rightly so, but I like the other side of him, too.

"I remember in the Fulham game when we won 5-2, it was the 93rd minute and he wasn't happy that we weren't given a handball. That sums him up."

Reds Midfielder Has Heart Set On Permanent Exit

Alberto Aquilani´s agent insists his client wants to remain in Italy.

The Italian midfielder spent this season on loan at Juventus from Liverpool. but the Turin giants have yet to confirm if they will sign the 26-year-old on a permanent basis. Aquilani, who has been linked with a move to AC Milan this summer, is also a reported target of Napoli.

"Aquilani to Napoli? I don’t think it would be an easy negotiation but if the will is there why not?" said Aquilani’s agent Franco Zavaglia to Italian Radio Crr.

"I have not spoken to (Napoli sporting director Riccardo) Bigon but the player wants to remain in Italy.

"If something was to come up he would be happy.

"I have not spoken to Alberto but Napoli is an important club.

"If Napoli considered Aquilani to be an important player, he would be open to negotiations."

Liverpool signed Aquilani for a reported fee of £20million from Roma in 2009 and he is under contract with the Reds outfit until June 2014.

Aquilani scored twice in 33 league appearances for Juventus last season.

Liverpool Cancels The Korean Leg Of Its Far-East Pre-Season Tour

Liverpool has cancelled the South Korean leg of their Far-East pre-season tour due to “mitigating circumstances”.

The Reds had announced in April they would be playing games in China, Malaysia and Korea during July.

However, the club has now decided to cancel its July 19 date against Korean champions FC Seoul in the capital which was to be the final match of the tour.

The club said on its official website the decision was due to mitigating circumstances and it now would be investigating a number of alternative options.

The timing of the match was set to cause problems for FC Seoul, who had a league game fixtured for two days earlier and a potential K-League Cup quarterfinal on July 20.

However an official from FC Seoul told The Korea Times that discussions had broke down following the recent K-League match-fixing scandal.

“The discussions between us and Liverpool on having a friendly ground to a halt since the scandal overwhelmed the K-League,” said the official.