Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Liverpool’s Villa Swoop Hit Last Minute Hitch

Stuart Downing’s move from Aston Villa to Liverpool stood on the verge of collapse last night as The Anfield club dug their heels in over the size of the fee.

“Stuart is a full England international with years of top flight experience, we have put a value on him and we will not come down from that” said first team coach Steve Clarke.

“As a club we can’t be seen to be paying less for him than we did for Jordan Henderson or Andy Carroll so we’re all hoping that Villa will see sense and allow us to push the fee over the £20 million mark.”

“We’ve spent the best part of £60 million on those two lads so we’d look really silly if we got Stuart for less than £15 million, Villa need to seriously look at what they’re asking for the lad or we’ll walk away from the deal.”

Villa Chairman Randy Lerner has vowed to stick to his guns and has expressed amazement at Liverpool’s behaviour.

Speaking from his ranch in America: “Stuart is a good player, no more or less than that. Liverpool’s bid of £20 million is ridiculous and is an insult to anyone that knows anything about football.”

“We accepted their first bid of £10 million and the one after that for £12 million but they keep coming back with more, it’s almost as if they’re saying we know nothing about football.”

Both parties are hoping that negotiations will succeed as the player has gone public with his desire to move to Liverpool.

“As a boy I dreamed of playing in front of the Kop, who would have thought all those years ago that I’d get to play alongside the likes of Henderson, Carroll and Charlie Adam, this really would be a dream come true” said an emotional Downing.

Liverpool Set To Hijack Arsenal’s £10m Bid For France Star

Liverpool is ready sign Lyon defender Aly Cissokho in a £10million deal, after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ruled themselves out of the running.

The Reds are in the hunt for a left-back and the 23-year-old ticks all the Anfield boxes and are keen to wrap a deal soon.

The France international was on the radar of Arsenal following the sale of Gael Clichy to Manchester City, but Wenger has ruled out any move.

“I already have Thomas Vermaelen, Armand Traore and Kieran Gibbs in the squad. There is no need to buy a left-back at this time,” said Wenger.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish will now swoop on Cissokho an offer £10million for a player who has three years left on his contract.

Dalglish has been left frustrated in his attempts to fill the problem position, after missing out on Clichy and Newcastle refusing to lower their £15million valuation of Jose Enrique.

Cissokho is keen on a move away from France after a series of run-ins with supporters and Lyon are happy to sell to generate their own transfer funds.

Liverpool director of football, Damien Comolli, is a fan of Cissokho’s and will use his contacts at Lyon to push the deal through.

Liverpool To Move For Wayne Bridge

Liverpool is considering a move for Manchester City misfit Wayne Bridge if they fail to lure Leighton Baines away from neighbours Everton.

The City left-back is way down the pecking order at Eastlands following the arrival of Gael Clichy from Arsenal, and will certainly be shipped out this summer by Roberto Mancini.

The Reds are in desperate need of a new full-back having missed out on Clichy, and with the Toffees unwilling to negotiate over Baines, Bridge could well be Kenny Dalglish’s next port of call.

The former Chelsea defender spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham, and although his £90,000-a-week wages could prove a stumbling block for the Anfield giants, City are likely to accept a minimal transfer fee for the player to get him off the books.

Dalglish already has Paul Konchesky and Fabio Aurelio as current options at left-back, but both are unfancied by the Scottish boss, which could hasten his move for 30-year-old Bridge.

Dalglish To Battle Sevilla For Barcelona And Spain Under-21 Star

Liverpool has been joined in the race to sign Barcelona winger Jeffren by Spanish side Sevilla after the Catalan giants revealed that the midfielder was surplus to requirements at the Camp Nou.

The attacking midfielder's profile was raised after he helped the Spanish Under-21 side win the European Championships with his impressive displays drawing interest from a number of clubs.

Jeffren's agent and father, Efren Suarez, has hinted that Sevilla have already been in touch with Barcelona over a potential transfer.

"It is possible there is an interest from a major club such as Sevilla and it is possible they have already been in touch with Barcelona about his availability," Suarez told Sport.

The Venezuelan-born midfielder has struggled to break into the Barcelona first team and realizes that there are a number of players ahead of him in the pecking order such as Pedro, Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andreas Iniesta.

With Barcelona also trying to sign Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez the club are desperate to get rid of some of their fringe players and could accept a relatively low offer for the attacking midfielder.

According to reports in Spain the Champions League winners want to sell Jeffren, Bojan Krkic and Maxwell to try and raise enough funds to land both Sanchez and Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.

Liverpool are said to still be interested in Jeffren after learning that it would take a bid of nearly £20million to land Stewart Downing or Valencia winger Juan Mata.

Jeffren would be a far cheaper option for Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish as it is believed that the 23-year-old would only cost in the region of €4m.

A lot will depend on whether Jeffren would prefer to stay in Spain or if he would be open to a move to the Premier League but it is clear he will leave after revealing he had spoken to manager Pep Guardiola about a move.

"I spoke to the coach and now I will study the different offers I have and choose the best for me," Jeffren told El Dia de Tenerife.

Liverpool Eye AIK Pair

Liverpool have reportedly joined the growing list of Premier League teams interested in AIK Solna strikers Teteh Bangura and Mohamed Bangura.

Scouts from Liverpool were at the game against Halmstad BK along with a reported 10 other representatives from other European clubs to watch the unrelated Sierra Leonean Bangura pair.

Teteh Bangura would have no doubt impressed the hordes of watching scouts as he netted all four goals in the 4-0 victory.

Mohamed Bangura, 21, provided two assists for his countrymen before he departed the field prematurely through injury.

Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea have been keeping tabs on the duo, in particular Mohamed, but could now potentially be pipped by free spending Liverpool.

And their agent Patrick Mork expects one of the sought after attackers to leave the Swedish club before the end of the transfer window.

"I expect that at least one of them will leave," said Mork. "I don't know if that's just me being optimistic or realistic.

"But all players want to move on, and it's my job to help them."

Paul Konchesky Joins Leicester City

Leicester City has announced that they have completed the signing of Liverpool full-back Paul Konchesky for an undisclosed fee.

The London-born defender has joined the Foxes on a three-year contract and becomes the latest player to join Sven Goran Eriksson’s team as he looks to splash the cash in order to take the midlands club back into the Premier League.

After impressing for Charlton Athletic the player gained the reputation as a promising England full back, but he has endured a torrid time trying to settle at a number of Premier League clubs including West Ham, Fulham and finally Liverpool.

Eriksson told the club's official website of his delight at capturing Konchesky: "Paul has been a Premier League player year in and year out throughout his career so he represents a very big signing for us.

"He wanted to come to Leicester City and it means a lot that proven, established top flight footballers want to be part of what we are building here.

"I know Paul very well as a player and as a person and he will be a top class addition to our squad."

After being bought to Anfield by Roy Hodgson and not impressing in the first half of the season Kenny Dalglish sent him on loan to Nottingham Forest, where he helped the team to secure play-off qualification.

The 30-year-old also has previous history with the Leicester manager, as Eriksson was the man who gave Konchesky the first of his two England caps in 2003.

Raul To Fight For Reds Place

Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles insists he will be playing for the club this season despite question marks over his future at Anfield.

Manager Kenny Dalglish has brought in two midfielders in the shape of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, leading some to believe that Meireles could be offloaded.

Serie A giants Inter Milan are reportedly keen on ex-Porto man Meireles, but he has no thoughts about quitting Anfield for pastures new this summer.

On the club's pre-season tour of China when he asked was asked if he would still be a Liverpool player this coming season, he replied: "Of course."

Meireles has also been troubled by an ankle problem, but he says he is on the mend, adding: "I have a little problem with my ankle, but I've start training today. It's a little problem."

Meanwhile, the club's record signing Andy Carroll is looking to hit the ground running this term after arriving with an injury following his £35million capture from Newcastle.

"It was disappointing since I signed being injured. Getting myself back fit," said the England international. "Now I'm getting myself fit I'm looking forward to the start of season, which should be successful."

Liverpool Will Have To Repay £8.2m European Grant

Liverpool have been told they will have to repay £8.2 million of European funding if they do not go ahead with plans to build a 60,000 capacity stadium at Stanley Park.

Although the club’s American owner, John W Henry, has hinted he would prefer to keep Liverpool at an expanded Anfield, preparatory work has already been carried out at the adjacent Stanley Park site using money from a European Objective One grant, which will have to be paid back if Liverpool stay put.

“The broken promises of the previous owners [Tom Hicks and George Gillett] have come back to haunt the current owners,” said Labour MP Steve Rotheram.

“If Liverpool city council has to pay the money back, Liverpool Football Club will have to pay the money back. Liverpool signed up to that, albeit under different owners.”

Liverpool have until September to decide whether they are going to take a 999-year lease on the Stanley Park site, but managing director Ian Ayres has warned they will not be rushed into a decision.

Should they decide to move they need to find a commercial partner willing to cover a large part of the cost through stadium naming rights, but if they stay at Anfield it could take at least three years to get planning permission to expand because of complex negotiations with local residents?

“What people don’t think of a lot of the time is that we don’t get 60,000 new seats when we build a stadium,” said Ayres. “We only get the difference between Anfield currently and whatever we build.

“The economics of that difference don’t really stack up in the medium term. It would be a huge investment with very little financial gain. On its own that doesn’t look like a viable proposition, so what we have to do, is explore an opportunity for naming rights.”

Goals Galore At The Academy

Liverpool Reserves made a thrilling start to life under new boss Rodolfo Borrell as they were held to a 4-4 draw with Brentford on Tuesday afternoon.

The Reds got off to a flyer and it all looked to be going to plan when Suso netted a spot-kick inside the opening 10 minutes.

However, the Bees responded and were level less than a minute later courtesy of a long range strike from Emmanuel Oyekele.

Maison Mcgeekhan then put the visitors ahead before Nabil El Zhar restored parity with a smart right foot finish.

The topsy-turvy nature of the encounter continued to provide observers with an interesting spectacle and it was no surprise that Nathan Eccleston's header was cancelled out by another blockbuster from Mcgeekhan.

Both sides tightened up defensively following the interval and when Luke Hacker gave the away side a 4-3 lead with a clinical penalty, it looked like the second-string were on the verge of an unfortunate defeat.

However, Liverpool continued to threaten and deservedly earned a share of the spoils courtesy of substitute Michael Ngoo's clever chip.

Meanwhile, Mike Marsh's new-look U18 side got off to a winning start as they romped to a 6-1 victory over Tranmere in another friendly that took place simultaneously in Kirkby.

Sam Gainford and Josh Sumner were amongst the goalscorers as well as a brace apiece for two trialists.