Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martinez Set To Snub Reds

Roberto Martinez looks set to snub Liverpool in favour of a bumper new contract and large transfer kitty at Wigan.

Martinez has been Liverpool's number one choice to replace Kenny Dalglish and the Spaniard held talks with the Reds American owners in Miami last week.

There have already been rumours circulating that Martinez would turn down the chance to move to Anfield as he is unwilling to work under a Director of Football and now reports have claimed Latics chairman Dave Whelan has convinced him to stay.

The Wigan owner is said to have promised bumper new contracts to not only Martinez but all his backroom staff as well along with a stack of cash to spend on new players in the summer.

Whelan wants a final answer by Thursday but reports in the Sun say that Martinez has already made his mind up to stay and Liverpool will now look elsewhere with Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers now their top target.

Jenkins Stands Firm On Rodgers

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins is standing firm over talk linking Brendan Rodgers with the Liverpool job, dismissing reports he will meet the club's owners as 'pure speculation'.

Although Rodgers had previously stated his intention to remain with the Swans, having already turned down the chance to speak with the Anfield club, it appears the Reds have not given up on the hope of talking to the Northern Irishman.

Reports have suggested Liverpool is set to contact him this week but Jenkins has shrugged off the claims, saying on Monday the reports are "pure speculation".

Ten days ago Swansea released a statement confirming they had received an official approach from Liverpool to speak with Rodgers.

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

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

Wigan's Roberto Martinez is still seen as the front-runner, having held talks with Liverpool's principal owner John Henry in Miami last week.

The Spaniard is due back from a Caribbean holiday on Tuesday but despite his suggestion over the weekend he would hold a press conference at which he would outline his future plans, no such arrangements have yet been made.

In light of the latest speculation linking Liverpool with a move for Rodgers, Swansea issued a short statement insisting there had been no contact.

"We would like to clarify the speculation in the press surrounding our manager Brendan Rodgers," it said.

"We would like to confirm that there has been no contact from Liverpool and nothing has changed since our previous statement on the issue."

Roy Keane Would Leap At Chance To Manage Liverpool

Roy Keane has made an admission that might stun fans of former club Manchester United, revealing he would jump at the chance of managing Liverpool.

Keane is a legend at United, winning seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League crown during his time at Old Trafford. A no-nonsense skipper, Keane's belligerent style was loved by United fans and despised by rivals Liverpool.

His final United game was actually played at Anfield, when a challenge from Luis Garcia forced the midfielder off the pitch. Since then Keane has been frequently critical of United, who he still demands exceptionally high standards of in his current punditry role.

It is highly unlikely he would ever be considered as Kenny Dalglish's successor at Liverpool, but Keane offered advice to Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, both linked to the Anfield vacancy. In Keane's mind, either man would be foolish to turn down a job offer to stay with Wigan and Swansea respectively.

"Timing is everything for a manager - far more important than for a player," Keane wrote in the Sun on Sunday. "That's why the likes of Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers have to think carefully about their next move.

"I'm speaking from experience. In my last season at Sunderland we were talking about a new contract after we made a decent start. Four weeks later I was out of a job. You can be hailed as the next best thing one minute then the next thing you know you're sacked.

"Now is the time for [Martinez] to go and if I were him I'd jump at the chance to go to Liverpool. It might not be the best time in the club's history but it's still a great job.

"Liverpool will always be a bigger club than either Swansea or Wigan and if a chance comes to go there, you've got to take it because it might never come around again.

"Put it this way, I'd take it and my mobile is on."

Louis van Gaal Expecting To Land Role At Liverpool

Louis van Gaal could soon be plying his trade in the Premier League with Liverpool, but it is unclear whether this will be in a managerial role.

The Sun has reported that the Dutchman expects Liverpool to make him an offer in the coming days but it is unclear whether this will be in the role of sporting director or manager.

The 60-year-old was initially linked with the role formerly held by Damien Comolli but he has now emerged as a potential successor to Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool owners, Fenway Sports Group, have been attempting to find a replacement for Dalglish but have so far been turned down by both Breandan Rodgers and Frank de Boer.

They are actively holding talks with Wigan boss Roberto Martinez who last week flew out to America to meet with John W Henry and Tom Werner.

The report believes that Van Gaal would prefer to take the managers role, having not worked in the role since being sacked by Bayern Munich in April 2011.

Van Gaal has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his managerial career that has seen him lift the Champions League crown with Ajax and win league titles in Germany, Holland and Spain.

Carroll Plans To Grab Chance

Andy Carroll is determined to make the most of his England opportunity, with there every chance that he will lead Roy Hodgson's line at Euro 2012.

The Liverpool striker was handed a starting berth on Saturday as Hodgson's reign as Three Lions boss began with a 1-0 win over Norway.

Carroll's fine form towards the end of the Premier League season has earned him international recognition, and the burly frontman is ready to prove that he can cut it at the very highest level.

The 23-year-old has struggled to produce his best form since completing a £35million move to Anfield in January 2011, but he would appear to be edging back towards his best form and claims he is ready to help cover the loss of Wayne Rooney to suspension during England's opening two fixtures at this summer's European Championship.

Carroll, who set up Ashley Young's winner against Norway, said: "It's a great honour to be involved with England. This is what I want to be involved in during my career.

"Now I've got a chance to show what I'm about. I thought I did well. We've got a big squad and loads of quality players but I gave it my best shot and we'll see what happens.

"The season is over for everyone not involved in this (Euro 2012) and it's great for me to carry it on and I want to do well if given the chance.

"The way Roy Hodgson has played at his clubs, he wants a big man up front and he has picked me, so that is great."

Carroll says he always believed that he would come good at Liverpool and force his way back into the England fold, silencing those who were quick to write him off.

He said: "I always believed in myself but things weren't going too well for me.

"The price tag meant nothing to me. I just signed for a new club and it was hard to fit in straight away.

"I came into Liverpool when injured and it was hard for me to get my fitness back but I didn't think about the price at all.

"I don't think about those sort of things. I know what I'm about and, as soon as I got my fitness up, I've started to show it."

Carroll added: "I didn't play as many games as I would have hoped but towards the end of the season, I got a run of games and did well - and now I'm here.

"Training and playing gets your confidence up, certainly after a good game, and I carried on from there.

"I feel a lot fitter now than I did at the start and halfway through the season.

"I never got many games in a row and towards the season I did and that helped a lot.

"I'm feeling good, feeling fresh. From the end of the season, I felt good, felt like I was moving a lot better and getting involved in games more than earlier in the season."

Liverpool To Move For Napoli Superstar

Liverpool is considering an ambitious swoop for Napoli attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi, according to the Guardian.

A previous report had claimed that Lavezzi wanted to leave Napoli this summer to ensure he plays Champions League football - this is something Liverpool can’t offer with the Reds only in the Europa League competition.

However, it is now suggested that Liverpool will still make a bid for the Argentina international in an attempt to lure the direct and hard-working forward to Anfield for the beginning of the 2012/13 season.

Earlier this year, Lavezzi’s agent Jose Alberti claimed that Liverpool had already been in touch with the Serie A side over a possible deal.

“Two years ago I oversaw a meeting between the leaders of Liverpool and Napoli. We discussed a possible deal to bring Lavezzi to England,” he said.

“Nothing happened, but I know specifically that the English club still has great interest in the player, especially after the performance of this season.

Lavezzi, 27, scored 11 times in 42 games this past term.

Diame: Dalglish Sacking Prevented Deal

Mohamed Diame has revealed he had chosen to join Liverpool this summer, before the sacking of Kenny Dalglish scuppered the proposed deal.

The Senegalese midfielder will be out of contract this summer after spending three years with Wigan, and is likely to attract no shortage of suitors over the next few months.

Liverpool were one of a number of teams to be linked with Diame after it was announced he would leave the DW Stadium, and the 24-year-old claims to have met with Dalglish to discuss a move to Anfield.

Diame liked what he heard from the Liverpool boss and decided joining the Reds represented an offer too good to refuse, but the departure of Dalglish appears to have prevented a deal from being completed.

"I am free and that is why I have got a lot of clubs interested," Diame told Sky Sports News. "I have to be composed and make the big decision for my future.

"I have got some clubs from Spain, from France and Turkey but I really want to stay here in the Premier League.

"I met before with Kenny Dalglish and we talked about next season but the club decided to finish this situation. It is true I was very excited and I was choosing to go there, but I think there is an opportunity to go to another club."

A deal for Diame could perhaps be revived if Roberto Martinez is announced as Dalglish's successor, having held talks with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group in Miami last week.

The Wigan manager is due back in England on Tuesday, and Latics chairman Dave Whelan has requested the Spaniard makes a decision on his future by Thursday.

Cole Hoping For Second Chance

Joe Cole is keen to restore his reputation at Anfield by making a return to Liverpool next season following a loan spell at Lille.

Cole played himself back into form at the French club during the 2011-12 campaign, making 20 league starts as Lille finished third in the table. That was a welcome boost after his first year with Liverpool did not go to plan: he was nowhere near his best, and marginalized following the appointment of Kenny Dalglish.

Lille are keen to keep him at the club, especially if Eden Hazard makes his expected exit over the coming weeks, but there is a chance Cole could be back in the first-team picture at Liverpool when they appoint a successor to Dalglish.

And Cole, who missed out on selection for England's Euro 2012 squad, is keeping his options open.

"I've been a success at West Ham, a success at Chelsea," Cole told Sky Sports. "I've moved to another country in France and had a good season. It's just that season at Liverpool and I would love to have a chance to put it right, if that's what they wanted."