Sunday, May 20, 2012

Liverpool Reportedly Approach Benitez Over Return

Liverpool has reportedly made a sensational approach to former manager Rafa Benitez over a potential return to the club.

As reported by the Mirror, Liverpool chiefs have sounded out the Spaniard, after being rejected by Swansea City boss Brendan Rogers and former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola in their hunt for a new boss.

Benitez left Liverpool in 2010, when the club was under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillet, but it is rumoured that new owners Fenway Sports Group are considering bringing the crowd favourite back to Anfield.

After leaving Liverpool, Benitez endured a difficult spell at Inter Milan, and has since spent the last 18 months out of game.

However, it appears as though the Champions League winning Benitez could well be back in the hot seat, after placing high on FSG’s managerial shortlist.

It is believed that the club’s owners have a list of twelve candidates in mind, and have already been given permission to speak to Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.

Laudrup In Liverpool Link

Sky Sports understands former Denmark star Michael Laudrup is a contender for the vacant manager's job at Liverpool.

Liverpool have begun their search for a new boss following the board's decision to axe Kenny Dalglish earlier this week.

The Reds are believed to have a shortlist of up to 12 people they want to talk to about succeeding Dalglish at Anfield.

Wigan's Roberto Martinez has already been given permission to enter discussions with Liverpool, while Swansea chief Brendan Rodgers declined the opportunity to hold talks with the Merseyside giants.

Danish icon Laudrup is thought to be in the frame for the post, with the 47-year-old believed to be keen to try his luck in England.

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Laudrup is highly-regarded in Europe as one of the best young managers around with his brand of exciting attacking style of play.

Laudrup worked as Morten Olsen's assistant with the Danish national side before he took charge of Brondby in 2002.

After four successful seasons, he left Brondby for Getafe, leading them to the final of the Copa del Rey and the quarter-finals of the old UEFA Cup.

Laudrup has since had spells with Spartak Moscow and Real Mallorca, who he left last September.

Laudrup has been linked with a move to England in the past and the Dane is thought to have admirers inside the corridors of power at Anfield as they look to bring in a new man to get the club back on track.

Klopp Rules Out Reds

Liverpool's search for a new manager has been dealt a fresh blow after Jurgen Klopp made it clear he does not want to leave Borussia Dortmund.

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers has already rejected an approach from the Anfield club, who are looking for a successor to Kenny Dalglish following the Scot's sacking on Friday.

Klopp is thought to be one of the 12 candidates who are being targeted by Liverpool, but he is committed to Bundesliga champions Dortmund after leading them to a league and cup double this season.

The German 44-year-old is one of the most promising manager's in Europe after achieving success on a tight budget, but he is under contract at Dortmund for another four years.

And Klopp is staying put amid plans for a better challenge in next season's UEFA Champions League after a disappointing bottom-placed finish in Arsenal's Group F this campaign.

The previous Chelsea target said: "I have been made aware of interest from England, and it is an honour to be linked with big clubs in the Premier League.

"But I have a contract with Dortmund until 2016 and am going nowhere. I love it here and have no intention of changing clubs."

Rodgers Turns Down Liverpool

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers has turned down an approach from Liverpool over their managerial vacancy.

The Reds sacked Kenny Dalglish on Wednesday after a disappointing season that resulted in their worst league finish for 18 years.

Owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have already made an approach for Wigan boss Roberto Martinez but are keen to interview other candidates as they search for the right man.

But it won't be Rodgers who is heading to Anfield, after the Northern Irishman rejected the opportunity to speak to FSG.

The 39-year-old guided the Swans to 11th in their debut Premier League season, earning many plaudits for the team's attractive style of play.

But it is apparent he does not view the Anfield club - who are seeking a fourth manager in two years - as the right step to develop his career.

A statement on Swansea's official website read: "Swansea City can confirm that an approach from Liverpool FC to speak to manager Brendan Rodgers was officially received by club chairman Huw Jenkins this morning.

"The club is pleased to confirm that Brendan has declined the current opportunity to speak to the Anfield club about the vacant position.

"The Swansea manager is currently working hard to strengthen their squad in readiness for the new Barclays Premier League campaign.

"The club will make no further comment at this stage."

Liverpool are believed to have drawn up a list of candidates that could include as many as 12 high-profile names.

FSG's possible targets range from UEFA Champions League winners such as Fabio Capello and Pep Guardiola to young Premier League coaching talent like Martinez and Rodgers.

Juventus Keep Liverpool Off Paratici

There are reports Juventus have shot down Liverpool’s attempts to poach technical director Fabio Paratici.

The Sun suggested this week that they were looking at Paratici as a replacement for director of sport Damien Comolli.

According to the Italian media, there was some truth in this approach, but Juventus slammed the door on any potential departure.

Paratici is the right-hand man of director general Beppe Marotta and contributed to constructing the Scudetto-winning side.

His contract ties him to the Turin giants until June 2013.

Ayre Expects Stars To Stay Put

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has dispelled fears a number of top stars could leave the club in the wake of the upheaval at Anfield.

The Reds are looking for a new manager after Kenny Dalglish was axed by the club's American owners earlier this week.

It has been suggested that Dalglish's departure could cause some unrest in the dressing room, but Ayre is confident the players will stick around after holding talks with them.

"I spoke to all our senior players yesterday and I don't think it will happen," said Ayre of a possible exodus of players.

"Of course, Kenny is an important part of the fabric of the club and always will be.

"There isn't anyone who won't be disappointed with the decision but the players are respectful. There are no plans to fire anyone else.

"It was just part of a process. It is all part of wanting to get it right."

Liverpool are thought to be in talks to offer Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger new deals to fend off interest from other clubs and Ayre admits talks are ongoing with players to secure their long-term futures.

"I have been deeply involved in the negotiations with agents and players," added Ayre. "It is business as usual in that sense.

"Nothing has had to stop.

"The manager and director of football were not the only people involved in the process."

Liverpool Consider Move For £26m Striker

Liverpool are reportedly considering a move for CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia, after the appointment of Kenny Dalglish's successor.

The 24-year-old Ivorian scored 33 goals in 41 appearances for his current employers last season, and has also been linked with a transfer window move to Chelsea.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Napoli have also been named as potential suitors for Doumbia, but it is Liverpool who appear to be ready to formalize their interest.

According to the Daily Mail, the unveiling of a new manager could be swiftly followed by a bid for Doumbia, who has a release clause of £26 million written into his contract.

Doumbia is likely to be one of several strikers on the radar of Liverpool this summer, as Reds owners Fenway Sports Group look to make-up for the profligacy in front of goal last season.

Liverpool mustered fewer goals in the league than they had for two decades, and goalscoring reinforcements will surely be a summer priority for the next manager.

Liverpool Face Malaga Challenge For Gaston Ramirez

Liverpool are set to face strong competition from Malaga for the signature of Bologna star Gaston Ramirez.

The Reds were believed to be in pole position to land the Uruguayan midfielder after his agent revealed a Premier League team had made a £16million bid.

That was before the Anfield club's American owners sacked Kenny Dalglish, and Malaga are now keen to take advantage of the situation.

Reports in Italy suggest the Spanish club have already made an offer for the 21-year-old, as coach Manuel Pellegrini looks to strengthen his squad after securing a Champions League place.

Ramirez's representative Pablo Betancourt refused to comment on the latest rumours, but made it clear he expects the player to move during the summer transfer window.

'It's very probable that this will have been his last season at Bologna,' he said.

'We already have a few offers, but we will speak with Bologna officials at some point after June 1st.'

Kuyt Hoping For Anfield Stay Following Dalglish Sacking

Liverpool attacker Dirk Kuyt has reportedly expressed a desire to remain at Anfield following the departure of Kenny Dalglish as boss.

Kuyt has endured a frustrating season having found himself frequently on the bench, with Dalglish opting to play Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing rather than utilizing the Dutchman's industry.

The attacker had been linked with a move away from Liverpool, after reportedly being told by Dalglish that he did not feature in the club's plans.

The Netherlands international had been linked with a return to his former club Feyenoord, with rumours that German side Hamburg were also interested in signing the 31 year-old.

However, it appears as though Dalglish's sacking has prompted a u-turn in the mind of Kuyt.

According to reports on, he told Algemeen Dagblad: “I hope I can stay with Liverpool. But that's what I said the last couple of months.”

Kuyt admitted that he was growing disillusioned with life under Dalglish, but conceded that he will wait until a new manager is appointed before making a decision on his future at the club.

“With Dalgish as manager I didn't have the illusion he would let me start from the beginning [of matches] next season,” he said.

"We have to wait and see now. I'm not sure yet what Liverpool will do with this manager vacancy."

Joe Cole Wanted By Premier League New Boys

Newly promoted Reading are ready to launch an ambitious move for Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole who has spent the last season on-loan at French outfit Lille.

The former Chelsea midfielder still has two years left on his contract at Liverpool but his future is certainly up in the air after the owners of the club made the decision to part company with Kenny Dalglish.

Cole still has one game left to play in France and then he will be ready to return to England where he will have to consider his future, which could still be at Liverpool.

The Daily Star has revealed that Reading boss Brian McDermott is keen to bring in some experienced Premier League campaigners and is hoping to seal a similar deal to the one Liverpool agreed with Lille.

While Cole was playing for Lille, Liverpool were still paying more than a quarter of his wages and Reading are hoping that they will be able to utilize a similar agreement.

The 30-year-old has been given a new lease of life at Lille where he has been a regular starter in the first team and it is certain that he would not want to return to Anfield if he is seen merely as a squad player.

Reading know that they will need some new players but certainly will have been boosted after seeing all three promoted sides survive in the Premier League.