Saturday, May 26, 2012

Liverpool Encouraged To 'Seduce' Guardiola

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group will have been interested to hear the latest comments from Pep Guardiola who suggested he could consider cutting short his sabbatical from the game.

The former Barcelona manager said that he was going to take a year off from management after an incredibly successful spell in charge of the Catalan club.

Guardiola will take charge of Barcelona for the final time on Friday evening when they play Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Ray final as he looks to add yet another trophy to his already amazing collection.

The Spaniard has been linked with both Chelsea and Liverpool in the past few weeks and both will be interested in the comments, especially the Reds who are without a manager.

Chelsea enjoyed huge success under Roberto di Matteo as they won the Champions League and the FA Cup, while Liverpool is without a boss after firing Kenny Dalglish.

"I will be pleased to receive their calls, of course, but for the next months I have to charge my batteries, charge my mind," said Guardiola, as reported on the Guardian.

"I'm going to rest and then I will wait and, when I will be ready, if one club wants me, if they seduce me, I will train again."

Martinez Offered Liverpool Job

Roberto Martinez has been offered the chance to manage Liverpool according to Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.

Wigan boss Martinez was in Miami on Thursday for talks with Reds owner JW Henry about succeeding Kenny Dalglish as manager of the Anfield club.

Whelan has confirmed that Liverpool has made an offer to his manager and a decision will be made within the next week.

The only sticking point would appear to be whether Martinez will be given the level of control he demands.

"I have just spoken to Roberto," Whelan told Sky Sports News. "He went to Miami and had a very constructive meeting with the owner of Liverpool.

"They're going to talk again on Tuesday. They've made Roberto an offer and he has agreed to consider it.

"He is also aware that I have said 'I'd love to keep you but I need a decision by Wednesday or Thursday of next week'.

"If we lose him we've got to move and appoint someone for Wigan Athletic.

"In the meeting I think they've made him an offer and he's said 'what are my responsibilities'.

"These are American owners and the rules and regulations are a bit different from what we English set down.

"Roberto is a seven days a week, 12 hours a day worker and I don't know whether they realise how hard he works.

"He has rules and regulations to be fully in charge of football and I know he won't move anywhere unless he is fully in charge of the football.

"I think he's considering it and I think he'll give it fair consideration."

Asked to clarify whether Martinez is set to become Liverpool's new manager, Whelan added: "I couldn't say that 100% for sure. They have made him an offer, I don't know what that offer is.

"I think he has said thank you for the offer but I only work when I have complete control of football.

"But he's having another meeting with them on Tuesday when he says a decision will be made."

"If he goes to Liverpool we will wish him good luck and get on with the business."

Gerrard Gets Behind Martinez

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he would fully support Roberto Martinez if the Spaniard is named as the Reds' new manager.

Latics chairman Dave Whelan told Sky Sports on Friday Liverpool have offered Martinez a chance to be their new boss and a decision will be made within the next week.

The Spaniard was in Miami on Thursday for talks with Reds owner JW Henry about taking over at Anfield.

Reds skipper Gerrard says he was unaware of any offer for the Wigan boss but insists he would be completely behind him if he succeeds Kenny Dalglish at the helm.

"We'll have to wait and see. That's news to me," said England captain Gerrard, speaking ahead of the Three Lions' friendly with Norway on Saturday.

"My focus has been on the game today. I am aware that Roberto Martinez has been speaking to the club.

"Everything I've heard about the guy has been good and positive. We'll have to wait and see what the club decide to do.

"If he is the manager he's certainly got my full support."

Suarez - My Conscience Is Clear

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez insists his 'conscience is clear' over the racism row which tainted his and the club's campaign and has described the eight-match ban he served as strange.

The Uruguay international was suspended after an independent panel appointed by the Football Association found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in a match at Anfield last October.

Suarez insisted throughout he had done nothing wrong and has never publicly apologised to the Frenchman. And he still feels a sense of injustice now.

"The suspension, I suppose, you could call strange and unbelievable," the 25-year-old said in an interview with Russia Today.

"There was not a single convincing proof that I had done any of the things they accused me of doing.

"I accepted it without saying anything, obviously because they could have made [the suspension] longer and it would have just made the whole thing continue, but my conscience is completely calm, and so is that of the club and my family.

"Everyone knows that in Uruguay there is a huge black population.

"I had team-mates and friends of both colours all the time in the national team, in Liverpool, in Holland, where the majority are from Surinam, and I never had any problem with them.

"Holland is one of the countries in the world where there is the highest number of black players and at no point was there an issue."

Suarez suggests there was a conscious campaign to get him suspended, but although he remains unhappy with his treatment by the Football Association and the media, he did not specify whom he blamed for that.

"It seems to me they had to get rid of a Liverpool player and, well, they definitely were gratified by all of this," he added.

"What the English press has said about me does not interest me.

"What interests me is what they say about me in Uruguay and in Liverpool, and they have always been very supportive.

"After the suspension I was told the fans would taunt me, they would whistle me, insult me and shout at me, but to be honest it is not something I was worried about.

"Everyone whistled me in all of the stadiums I played in all the time anyway, even before the allegation of racism.

"I tried to pay it as little attention as possible to focus on what I like to do, which is to play."

Milan Keen On Liverpool Midfielder

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani could still leave Anfield for AC Milan this summer, according to talkSPORT.

The Italy international has been on a season-long loan to the Serie A giants, but failed to reach the required number of appearances to trigger the £6m buyout clause. As part of the loan agreement, had Aquilani reached 25 games AC Milan would have had the automatic option to sign the 27-year-old.

Milan decided against taking up Liverpool's offer, but reports in Italy suggest the club's vice president Adriano Galliani may come back in to sign Aquilani next month.

The Italian club are thought to be waiting to sort out the futures of Mathieu Flamini and Clarence Seedorf before committing to signing their permanent replacement, and the Italian club may feel they can secure the Italian for less than £6m.

And Aquilani's agent, Franco Zavaglia, believes his player may not have played his last game in a Milan shirt.

"Nothing is certain at the moment," Zavaglia told ItaSportPress. "It is by no means certain that Milan will not decide to keep him."

Aquilani joined Liverpool in 2009 from Roma, but failed to settle on Merseyside, and has spent the last two seasons on loan to Serie A clubs.

Aurelio Returns To Brazil

Gremio have announced the signing of Fabio Aurelio on an 18-month deal after he was allowed to leave Liverpool.

Aurelio has spent the past six years with Liverpool, having previously plied his trade for Valencia when he first came to Europe.

However, his involvement in recent times has been restricted by injuries and Kenny Dalglish confirmed at the end of the season that he would not be staying on as his contract was set to expire.

Aurelio has now returned to his native Brazil after Gremio confirmed on their official website they had signed the 32-year-old.

The full-back has penned a deal which keeps him at the club until December 2013 and he will be looking to play far more regularly after a frustrating few seasons at Anfield.

Liverpool Striker Joins Preston

Preston have agreed the free-transfer signing of Liverpool youngster David Amoo.

The 21-year-old striker will sign a one-year contract at Deepdale after his current Reds deal runs out at the end of June.

Amoo recently completed a successful year-long loan spell with Bury, where he scored four goals including the winner against North End at Gigg Lane in November.

He has also had loan spells with MK Dons and Hull.

Amoo said: "I've played here a few times and it is an amazing stadium and a club of great history, so it will be a great step in my career to come here."

Hogan Lands Liverpool Role

Liverpool's owners have appointed the former managing director of Fenway Sports Management as their new chief commercial officer.

Billy Hogan, who worked for the marketing wing of John Henry's company, will be responsible for sponsorships, ticketing and hospitality, retail and merchandise, club memberships, club tours and friendlies as well as Liverpool FC's Soccer Schools.

The 37-year-old sports marketing executive will replace Graham Bartlett who parted company with the Reds in March after less than a year in the job.

He has already worked on a number of Liverpool projects, including the record-breaking £25million per year kit deal with Warrior Sports and putting together Liverpool's pre-season tour of North America.

Hogan told the club's official website: "I've witnessed first-hand the passion and loyalty fans have for this club and I look forward to working with the staff, partners and future sponsors to grow and develop Liverpool's brand and commercial presence globally to help ensure the long-term growth of this storied club."

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre added: "Having worked at a senior level within Fenway Sports Management, Billy has been working alongside LFC for the last 18 months on a number of partnership projects and brings with him a rich pedigree of expertise and resource.

"In many respects this appointment reflects the great spirit of partnership between all of the Fenway Sports Group and LFC."

The club have also brought in former Sports Illustrated senior editor Jen Chang as their new corporate relations and communications director.