Friday, July 01, 2011

John W Henry: We Will Buy For The Long-Term

Liverpool owner John W Henry wants his club to sign players for the long-term, not the short term.

The Anfield club has already landed 20 million pound England Under-21 midfielder Jordan Henderson from Sunderland and has been linked with Valencia starlet Juan Mata who excelled in this summer's U-21 European Championship.

But it will not be signing teenage starlet Connor Wickham as the 18-year-old completed a move to Sunderland on Wednesday.

“Speculation on players shouldn't include those of a certain age. We are not going to be successful by merely filling short-term needs at LFC,” Henry tweeted. We already have quite a bit of experience in the club so it should be a good balance."

He added: "Everything in sports is overpriced now - especially the cost of winning."

But with promises by the Liverpool owner to make some early signings in the transfer market and seeing rivals Manchester United capture three new players including Phil Jones of Blackburn Rovers, concern has grown among some Liverpool fans.

However, Henry was keen to point out that there is still plenty of time bring players in during the transfer window.

“Some things happen early and some happen late, the important thing is that things happen," Henry said.

Clarke: We Won't Rush Luis & Lucas

Steve Clarke insists Liverpool have enough quality to cope if Luis Suarez and Lucas Leiva need extra time to recover after the Copa America.

Both players are likely to reach the latter stages of the tournament, which takes place in Argentina between July 1-24.

They are therefore likely to miss a chunk of the club's pre-season preparations - meaning they'll have to race to be fully fit for the opening weekend of the Barclays Premier League campaign on August 13/14.

Clarke is adamant neither will be rushed back to action.

"We wish them all the best for their countries and we'll look after them," the first-team coach told "It'll be up to us to make sure we put them in at the right time.

"The most important thing is they get adequate recovery time.

"Obviously we'd like all the players to come in on the first day of pre-season to do a full pre-season and be ready for the start with us, but it's not the case.

"Now in football you just have to accept that different countries and different continents have their own tournaments and their own times.

"It's up to the boys to go there and do their best for their countries. When they come back we'll assess the situation, assess them fitness-wise, physically and mentally - then we'll decide how we fit them into our training schedule.

"If they are ready to start the season, fine - if they need a little bit longer to recover, that's why you have a big squad. It will give other people a chance."

Meanwhile, Clarke believes Lucas may return to Melwood with a Copa America medal - and he for one will be following proceedings closely despite the unsociable kick-off times.

"Everyone likes to keep an eye on it," Clarke said. "There is a lot of good talent in South America.

"As for potential winners, you never look beyond the big two - Brazil and Argentina. Maybe Lucas will be happy! It would be nice if Luis and Uruguay can follow up their exploits in the World Cup and maybe get to the last four as well."

Liverpool Check Out Chivu As Clichy Heads To City

Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing Inter Milan defender Cristian Chivu.

The 30-year-old, who primarily plays as a left-back but can also play in central defence or even in midfield, has twelve months left on his existing deal at the San Siro.

According to the Daily Mirror citing reports in Italy, the Merseysiders are keen on the Romania international, but face competition from Valencia and Napoli.

Although Chivu is believed to be happy in Italy, his future is uncertain under new coach Gian Piero Gasperini and with only a year left on his contract, it is thought that he could be sold this summer if a new deal is not offered.

Liverpool are keen on signing a new left-back before the start of the new Premier League season and after missing out on Gael Clichy who is set to join Manchester City, Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has turned his attention to other possible targets.

Liverpool Edge Closer To Signing Of Sevilla Youngster Antonio Cotan

Liverpool appears to be edging closer to the signing of Sevilla youngster Antonio Cotan, if reports in today's media are to be believed.

According to The Mirror, the Reds have 'sent representatives' to Spain in order to finalize a deal for teenager, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea and Inter Milan.

Liverpool, however, look set to beat their rivals to the signature of the right-sided midfielder after employing the services of agent Alvaro Torres to conclude negotiations.

The acquisition of Cotan would serve as further evidence of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) fulfilling their pledge to bring the cream of European talent to Anfield.

FSG principal owner John Henry yesterday reiterated his and Liverpool's desire to invest in young talent, claiming signing players 'of a certain age' would be 'merely filling short-term needs.'

However, although Liverpool fought of competition to sign 20-year-old Jordan Henderson from Sunderland, they have been left largely frustrated in the transfer dealings this summer.

Sunderland Cool Interest In Liverpool's David Ngog

Sunderland have cooled their interest in Liverpool's David Ngog after completing the signing of Connor Wickham, according to the Sunderland Echo.

The French striker was reported to have been a transfer target for manager Steve Bruce and was originally considered part of the deal that took Jordan Henderson to Anfield.

This ultimately was not the case, but the two clubs did agree a £3 million fee for the player, though his representatives wanted to slow down the pace of talks.

Now the Sunderland Echo is reporting that Ngog may have missed out on the opportunity to reboot his faltering career on Wearside as the club has increased their attacking options.

Wickham signed for a reported £8m from Ipswich Town, beating Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish to the signature of the young forward.

A deal for Chunnam Dragon’s forward Ji Dong-Won is set to be confirmed soon, giving Bruce further options besides Fraizer Campbell and Asamoah Gyan, and it is believed that the manager is no longer interested in Ngog.

Aquilani Looking Forward To Liverpool Return

Alberto Aquilani says he is looking forward to returning to Liverpool with "great enthusiasm".

The Italian was not offered a permanent deal by Juventus despite playing 33 times for the club last season on loan.

The 26-year-old midfielder also insists it is not true that he does not want to go back to Anfield.

He told Sky Italia: "I return to Liverpool with great enthusiasm, this is not a problem.

"It's not true that I didn't want to return to England."

Aquilani moved to Anfield in a deal worth an estimated £20 million from Roma but failed to cement his place in the first team during his first season.

He enjoyed a relatively successful campaign at Juventus last term but the Turin club reportedly refused to pay Liverpool’s asking price.

The Italian’s agent had previously hinted that a stay in his home country was a viable option, with Napoli mentioned as possible suitors.

“Aquilani to Napoli? I don't think it would be an easy negotiation but if the will is there why not?” his agent, Franco Zavaglia, told 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.”

Carroll Makes Early Liverpool Return

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll has made an early return to pre-season in an effort to regain full fitness.

The £35 million January signing missed the end of last season through injury, and after a holiday in Barbados returned to Melwood ahead of the rest of the squad.

Working alongside a handful of youth players and coaches, the former Newcastle forward is hoping to be in peak condition for August 13th and the big kick-off against Sunderland.

Carroll's career at Anfield has been somewhat stunted thus far, with the 22-year-old making his debut on March 6th against Manchester United and only appearing five more times in the Barclays Premier League.

However, the England international will be hoping to make a bigger impact alongside Luis Suarez next season, and the future looks bright for the Merseysiders under Kenny Dalglish.

Lucas Leiva Enjoys Liverpool Summer Break On His Cattle Ranch

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has enjoyed a well-earned break on his cattle ranch after a tough season with the Anfield club.

This picture of Lucas, who was a stand-out player in an otherwise underwhelming campaign for the Reds, has gone viral, with Liverpool fans quick to comment on the South American star's choice of summer holiday destination.

It's certainly a far cry from the usual haunts of Marbella or Las Vegas.

Despite the team's struggles in the early stages of last season under Roy Hodgson, Lucas emerged as a key cog in the Liverpool machine and he continued his improvement under new boss Kenny Dalglish.

But this summer is not all rest and relaxation for the Brazilian, as he is jetting off to Argentina to take part in the Copa America.

And Liverpool fans can rest assured that the midfielder is chomping at the bit to get back to winning ways when he returns from international duty.

He posted on Twitter: '26 degrees in Liverpool. Is it true?? Looking forward to come back after Copa America.'

Lucas is part of the Brazilian squad looking to make it a hat-trick of wins at the tournament, but they will have to overcome a determined Argentinean side looking for revenge after a 3-0 defeat in the 2007 Copa America final.

Despite Brazil's history of success in major international football tournaments, the South American national team has found themselves slipping down the Fifa rankings in recent years.

And to add insult to injury the Samba Boys have now been passed by perennial underachievers England in the latest rankings. The Three Lions are fourth, with Brazil in fifth place.

Pacheco's Joy At Spain Call

Daniel Pacheco has been named in the Spain squad for the forthcoming FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Colombia.

The Liverpool forward is part of a 21-man squad and will travel to Madrid for a training camp on July 16 before heading to South America.

Speaking on his official Twitter page, Pacheco said: "So happy for being called for u-20 squad, World Cup in Colombia. Report to Madrid 16th of July and travel to Colombia. Can't wait."

Spain will kick-off their tournament against Costa Rica in Manizales on July 31.

They will also face Ecuador and Australia in Group C.

On Wednesday, fellow Liverpool youngsters Jack Robinson and Andre Wisdom were named in England U20s' squad for the finals.

Liverpool Damaged By Failure To Build New Stadium, Says Ian Ayre

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre admits the failure of former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to build a new stadium "set the club back several years".

And Ayre, promoted from commercial director late last season by new owners Fenway Sports Group, said had it not been for huge strides made in off-field business during that time the finances would have been in a bigger mess than they were just before FSG assumed control.

Hicks and Gillett were eventually ousted last October when, with creditors Royal Bank of Scotland wanting repayment of a £230million acquisition loan, a sale to FSG was pushed through against their wishes.

They departed with work on the promised stadium in Stanley Park no nearer starting than it was when Gillett pledged "the shovel needs to be in the ground in the next 60 days" at his first press conference having bought the club in February 2007.

"When you look at what we have done in growing the business, if we had started building a stadium in 2007 we would be in it by now," said Ayre.

"It could have been brilliant but we have probably set ourselves back several years."

The Reds managing director admitted there could not be a greater difference between the previous regime and the current one.

"There was a great opportunity to maximize the value of the club and they (Hicks and Gillett) were right, it needed a new stadium and new people," Ayre told the Liverpool Daily Post's Business Magazine.

"What they got fundamentally wrong was using leveraged finance to run the business and try to develop the business.

"Without the significant increase in revenues God knows how much of a mess we would have been in.

"What we have now is people who really understand how to own, operate and run a sports business.

"They are very honest about their objectives; they listen - that's quite fundamental."

The stadium issue is one which still needs resolving but Ayre said they would not repeat past mistakes and rush their deliberations.

"Nobody is going to force ourselves or the owners to make a decision until we know what's right for the club, because that was what partly went wrong before," he added.

"Sometimes people won't like that it takes a long time. That's unfortunate but it's the way we do it.

"Once a week someone will ask me what is happening with the stadium and the answer is 'We don't know'.

"The reason we don't know is there are still the two solutions. They are a new stadium in Stanley Park or a refurbished Anfield - that obviously comes with all sorts of issues - and there are a million questions to answer.

"The new stadium in the park comes down to the economics; how do we pay it back? It needs a big naming partner.

"Until you get the answer to those questions it would be wrong and unprofessional for us to make a statement about what we are doing."

Yesterday principal owner John Henry reiterated his belief that rebuilding the club - both on the field and off it - was a long-term project with no quick fixes.

Despite the progress made under FSG and manager Kenny Dalglish, who revitalized the team when he took over from Roy Hodgson in January, there is still plenty of work to be done to restore Liverpool to former glories.

And Ayre echoed the views of Henry by saying: "There's nobody getting carried away with what can be achieved in what timescale.

"The owners have said they want to win. That means a lot of things.

"We don't want to win once, we want to build consistency."