Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Liverpool And Newcastle Agree £8m Deal For Jose Enrique

Liverpool has agreed an £8 million deal to sign full-back Jose Enrique from Newcastle United and hope to wrap up the move by the end of the week.

Executives from both clubs are tying up details today on a move that will see Newcastle receive an initial £6m with an agreement for a further £2m to be paid in add-ons depending on performance-related targets.

Once a deal is formally struck, Enrique will be given permission to discuss personal terms with Liverpool and undergo a medical on Merseyside. The 25-year-old has indicated his desire to move to Anfield.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish and director of football Damien Comolli hope to have Enrique in place by the end of the week as they prepare for their Premier League opener against Sunderland on August 13.

Enrique has many admirers on Merseyside and has long been pencilled in as the leading candidate to fill the club's problem left-back position. His arrival will take their summer spending over the £50m mark as he joins new recruits Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing.

The Spaniard's contract at Newcastle expires next summer and last week he was fined two weeks' wages for Twitter rant directed towards owner Mike Ashley. His departure will add to the discontent among Newcastle fans following the announcement on Monday that midfielder Joey Barton would be allowed to leave the club on a free transfer.

With Enrique desperate to leave, Ashley decided to cash in now rather than risk losing one of the team's star performers on a free transfer next season and having another bad influence in the dressing room.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has been resigned to Enrique's departure all summer and failed in a deal to sign Neil Taylor from Swansea as a potential replacement.

With youngster Shane Ferguson set to be the only recognized left-back remaining at the club, Pardew has been linked with moves for Manchester City's Wayne Bridge and Aston Villa full-back Stephen Warnock.

David Ngog Could Be On His Way To West Ham United

West Ham United is weighing up a move for out-of-favour Liverpool striker David Ngog according to The Sun.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has found first team football difficult to come by following the arrival of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in January.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is busy building an Upton Park squad capable of an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League, and Ngog has been identified as a player to spearhead the West Ham attack.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is keen to relieve a number of players from the Liverpool wage bill, after a busy summer spending that has seen the likes of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Alexander Doni all move to Anfield ahead of the 2011-12 campaign.

As a result, Dalglish and Co. would be prepared to let Ngog leave Merseyside, but the £5.5million fee they are holding out for is unlikely to be forthcoming from West Ham - who has been forced to re-evaluate their finances following relegation to the Npower Championship.

Another potential sticking point is Ngog's wages - he is thought to earn in excess of £45,000 per week at Liverpool, while West Ham will be looking to offer less.

With Carlton Cole and Frederic Piquionne the only recognized senior strikers in the Hammers' first-team squad, Allardyce is keen to add another forward to his east end ranks before the season opener against Cardiff City on Saturday.

Liverpool Plan To Sign Joey Barton As Cover For Steven Gerrard

Given that Liverpool have a fair few options when it comes to stand-ins for Steven Gerrard a move to sign Joey Barton for that reason seems far fetched, however in the long run perhaps Kenny Dalglish feels a move to sign the 28 year old for free is too good a chance to turn down.

The local born England hopeful may be keen on a move to Anfield and apparently the former Man City man is being pursued by a number of club’s following his release from Newcastle United following his recent Twitter outbursts against the Magpies board and in particular owner Mike Ashley.

Dalglish has spent a great deal this summer and one area that he would appear to not need back up is his midfield. At present the Liverpool boss has the following options to fill the central and right sided areas that Barton plies his trade in: Charlie Adam, Raul Meireles, Dirk Kuyt, Alberto Aquilani, Jordan Henderson, Lucas, Jay Spearing, Christian Poulsen and Joe Cole.

Barton has a good season last term and has gone some way to shaking his ‘bad boy’ tag and the talented midfielder will want to sign a deal to join another side fairly sharpish, so as to avoid missing out on selection on the final pre-season warm up games for whomever he joins.

Ryan Shawcross Won't Be Sold To Liverpool

Stoke City have issued a clear hands-off warning to leading suitors Liverpool, amid reports they are preparing a £12million transfer offer for the defender.

Potters chairman Peter Coates is refusing to let the centre-half leave with the new Premier League season on the horizon and a crucial Europa League qualifying tie with Croatian side Hajduk Split next week.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish is keen to secure a defender, and is said to be tracking Shawcross closely.

But Stoke have told the Scot in no uncertain terms that the 23-year-old will not be leaving this summer.

With Shawcross ruled out, Birmingham City's Scott Dann is now being linked with Anfield.

Milan Jovanovic Set To Join Anderlecht

Anderlecht has struck a deal to sign out-of-favour striker Milan Jovanovic from Liverpool with the move expected to go through once the Serbian passes a medical this week.

Jovanovic was brought to Liverpool by former boss Rafael Benitez last summer from Standard Liege but has since fallen out of favour at Anfield and hasn’t started a game for the Reds since January.

Anderlecht released a statement on Tuesday confirming a deal had been agreed with Liverpool for the Serbian striker.

‘RSC Anderlecht and Liverpool FC reached today, Tuesday, August 2, 2011, an agreement on the transfer of Liverpool striker Milan Jovanovic,’ the Belgium club announced.

Anderlecht’s director of football Herman van Holsbeeck described the negotiations with Liverpool over Jovanovic’s transfer as being ‘long but fruitful’.

He also praised Jovanovic's ‘undeniable talent’ and ‘requisite experience’.

Liverpool confirmed the deal with a one line statement which read: ‘Liverpool confirmed this evening they have reached agreement with Anderlecht for the transfer of Milan Jovanovic.’

QPR Step Up Move For Joe Cole On Season-Long Loan

Liverpool is weighing up whether to offload Joe Cole to QPR in a season-long loan move.

The Barclays Premier League new boys are hoping to strike a deal with the Reds over the England midfielder, who has failed to impress since joining from Chelsea last summer.

Liverpool could be ready to pick up a third of Cole's wage packet while he plays for the Loftus Road outfit, according to talkSPORT.

QPR face competition from Cole's former club West Ham, who are also interested in bringing him back to Upton Park on a season-long loan as they chase promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.

Cole has found himself on the periphery of the team in an injury-hit first season at Liverpool, and Kenny Dalglish's arrival in January only served to push him further into the margins.

The 29-year-old playmaker has featured heavily during the club's pre-season matches, but did not do his chances any good with an anonymous display in the embarrassing 3-0 loss to Hull on July 23.

But Dalglish's assistant Steve Clarke last month appeared to offer Cole a lifeline, suggesting he would get another chance to convince the Reds hierarchy that his future belongs at the club.

'At the end of last season he (Cole) was not getting in the team because the team was playing well,' said Clarke. 'But he has trained hard and gone away and had a good summer.

'Joe Cole is a top international player. He has got a big contribution to make to the future. He is the same Joe Cole I coached at Chelsea, just a couple of years older and a little wiser. He has always had this same fantastic attitude.

'He knows the position he is in. It has been difficult for him because he has not been involved but, when he gets the chance, it is up to him to take it.'

Dalglish Leaves Door Open For Aquilani

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has left the door open for Alberto Aquilani to remain at Anfield this season.

The Italy international has been heavily linked with a move this summer following his return to the Reds after a year on loan at Juventus.

Fiorentina wanted to take him on another season-long loan but Aquilani rejected their approach last week saying that if he leaves Liverpool again he wants it to be on a permanent basis.

AC Milan has also expressed an interest in the 27-year-old midfielder but his future remains uncertain.

Aquilani caught the eye after coming off the bench late on in the Reds' 3-3 draw with Valerenga in Oslo on Monday night.

He set up two goals for Daniel Agger and almost netted himself with a spectacular volley.

“Alberto is a very good footballer full stop, irrespective of where he is playing,” Dalglish said.

“If he's here for the start of the season that wouldn't be a problem.”

Aquilani's agent Franco Zavaglia still expects his client to return to Italy and believes it would take a bid in the region of £9million for Liverpool to agree to sell him.

Zavaglia intends to hold talks with AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani when he returns from China next week following their Italian Super Cup meeting with Inter in Beijing on Saturday.

Agger Fumes At Pre-Season Defending

Liverpool's Daniel Agger has slammed the club's defence, claiming that their pre-season displays so far have not been good enough.

Liverpool have let in 15 goals in their five warm-up games and leaked another three in the 3-3 draw with Valerenga on Monday night. And with the club struggling to bring in new defenders before the start of the new season, Agger has said that the current crop need to improve.

"On Monday it just wasn't good enough, especially in the first half,'' he said.”The second was OK but it still wasn't what it needs to be. The amount of goals we've conceded is not good enough. We need to show we can keep a clean sheet and must defend better.

"If you are a footballer, you have to be a perfectionist and so far we have to admit it's not been good enough. Kenny [Dalglish] has his way of getting his point across and has said himself that we need to be streetwise - that's what we have got to do."

A strong Liverpool line-up struggled in Norway and goalkeeper Pepe Reina, playing in his first pre-season game, was left fuming at some of the defending.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us - we cannot afford to concede so many goals,'' he said. ''We have some new signings and are still working them into our system but to let in three is not our identity. We must be optimistic but we were far behind United last year and need to improve."

Dutchman Dirk Kuyt, though, thinks that he and the rest of the strikers must shoulder their share of the blame.

He insisted: "We are letting in too many but we have to defend like a team. That starts from the front. I'm not concerned as it's still pre-season and I'm sure if we do that a little bit better, then we'll be ready."

Reina Issues Rallying Cry

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina believes it is not in Liverpool's 'identity' to concede as many goals as they have done this pre-season.

The Reds have shipped 15 goals in five games, conceding three times in each encounter against somewhat weaker opposition.

Hull City, Galatasaray and Norwegian minnows Valerenga are just some of the teams who have troubled Kenny Dalglish's men this summer.

The Scot has, at times, been forced to field weakened sides and certain new signings are still finding their feet, but Reina is not using that as an excuse.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us," the Spaniard told The Times. "We cannot afford to concede so many goals. To let in three is not our identity.

"We have some new signings and we are still working them into our system."