Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tottenham And Liverpool Continue To Battle Over Rondon

Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are reportedly battling it out over Malaga star Salomon Rondon, according to the player’s agent.

Rondon has caught the eye of a whole host of clubs following a stellar season in which he helped the Spanish side gain Champions League status for next year by banging in 11 goals.

According to the Star, the striker is being headed by Tottenham and Liverpool, with Chelsea rumoured to be interested in the player.

The 22 year-old’s agent Pablo Martinez confirmed that he has been in contact with a handful of English clubs, but that no deal has been mooted yet, with the player weighing up his options.

It has been claimed that there are also three German sides considering moves for the Venezuelan striker, although it is unclear who these are.

Whoever moves for Rondon will likely have to pay in excess of £20 million, with the player’s wealthy club Malaga looking to cash-in on one of their prized assets.

Liverpool Join Race To Sign Porto Star James Rodriguez

Liverpool look set to challenge Manchester Utd for the prized signature of the highly touted Porto star James Rodriguez

The highly touted winger has been subjected of sustained interest from Man Utd, with the former Premier League champions reported to be lining up a £20 million bid for the 20 year old.

It would appear now that they will have a fight on their hands if they are to land Rodriguez’s signature with Liverpool rumored to be lining up their own bid for the winger, which is to be believed to be around the £23 million mark.

Rodriguez has already openly admitted that he is interested in a move to the Premier League. His agent, Silvio Sandri has also suggested a move is on the cards.

Speaking to newspaper O Jogo he said ‘There is nothing new to report. This is a matter to be discussed with Porto. Within a couple of weeks I plan to go to Portugal to speak with the leaders of Porto. I cannot talk more about this as it is so complex.’

Liverpool Eye Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Transfer

Liverpool are ready to move for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as they prepare to offload Luis Suarez, according to reports in Italy.

Suarez's future has been the subject of much speculation since he was suspended for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, although the Reds have said the striker is not for sale.

Juventus remain interested in the Uruguayan and have apparently made him their number one transfer target, ahead of Arsenal's Robin van Persie.

Liverpool is already planning for life without Suarez and is on the trail of Schalke's prolific frontman Huntelaar, reports Tuttosport.

The former Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan star enjoyed the best season of his career last term, when he scored 48 times.

Schalke would be reluctant to sell, but the Netherlands international has just one season left on his current deal and is yet to indicate whether he will sign an extension.

The uncertainty about his contract situation means the 28-year-old could be available for around £16million.

Liverpool has also been strongly linked with Italy striker Fabio Borini, who worked with Brendan Rodgers during a loan spell at Swansea last year.

The Reds were apparently waiting to make a bid for the 21-year-old until his co-ownership status was resolved.

That has now happened, as Roma have paid Parma £3.9million for their 50 per cent of his contract and are in a position to listen to offers.

Milan Keen On Aquilani

AC Milan are not ruling out the possibility of signing Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani this summer, according to vice-president Adriano Galliani.

The Italian midfielder played on loan at Milan last season, where he scored one goal in 23 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri.

Milan are looking to reinforce their midfield line with Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini all out of contract this summer.

"Before August 31, another midfielder will arrive, it could be Aquilani or somebody else," Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We haven't spoken yet to Aquilani. He is a Liverpool player."

Aquilani's agent Franco Zavaglia revealed on Wednesday he had not received any offers for his client and that the 27-year-old midfielder was set to return to Liverpool.

Aquilani is under contract with the Premier League side until June 2014 but is considered the ideal replacement for Flamini, who will not be offered a new deal at Milan.

"The time has expired for Flamini and we have already told his lawyer that we will not wait any longer," said Galliani.

The former Arsenal midfielder joined Milan in 2008 but missed most of last season with a serious knee injury.

The Frenchman will become a free agent next month.

Roma Star Decides Against Liverpool Move

Liverpool target Bojan Krkic has committed his immediate future to Roma amid reports of further interest from the Premier League.

Krkic, who moved to Roma in the summer of 2011, endured a mixed first season in Serie A, managing just seven goals in 33 league outings.

The former Barcelona forward had been tipped to follow recently-departed manager Luis Enrique out of the Stadio Olimpico exit, but he insists he wants to continue his progress in the Italian capital, despite mooted interest from Liverpool.

"I will return to Rome because I think is the best option," he told Spanish radio station RAC1.

"I am very happy and satisfied with my first year there. Everything depends on the season I have this year.

"It will be the highlight of my career. I want to focus on Serie A, which is quite hard, and to do my best."

Skrtel Ready For Talks

Martin Skrtel's representative has revealed that the issue of a new contract will be on the agenda when he meets for discussions over Liverpool's plans for the future following their managerial change this summer.

The Slovakia centre-back has two years left on his current deal but speculation has surfaced to suggest that he is being targeted by other clubs for a transfer window move.

According to widespread reports in Thursday's press, Manchester City is huge fans of Skrtel and could be considering a summer swoop.

Big-spending Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala has also been credited with an interest in the 27-year-old, but his agent is focused only on holding talks with the Reds.

Brendan Rodgers has come in to replace Kenny Dalglish as boss since the end of last season and Skrtel is keen to find out how he intends to take the club forward.

Agent Karol Cstonto is quoted as saying: "Some changes have been made at the club and he wants to know what the aims and ambitions are. And of course, we will discuss the issue of Martin's new contract.

"Liverpool is a big club and just because they haven't made the Champions League this year doesn't mean they would not do it next year.

"There are expectations on both sides, though."

LFC Youngster Gets Spain Call

Liverpool youngster Suso is preparing to help Spain U19s in the European Championships - and he could compete against a familiar face in the group stages.

The 18-year-old is part of the 22-man Spanish party heading to Estonia for the tournament, which runs from July 3-15.

Suso could battle against Liverpool teammate Joao Carlos Teixeira, with Spain facing Portugal on July 6. Greece and Estonia are also in the group.

As reported on earlier this week, Conor Coady and Jack Robinson will also be involved in the tournament. England's group contains Croatia, Serbia and France.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals and there are also spots in the 2013 U20 World Cup up for grabs for the nations who finish third in their group.

Fan Banned For Evra Taunts

A Liverpool fan has been given a four-year football banning order after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United supporters and their club captain Patrice Evra.

Phillip Gannon, 58, was seen on live television doing a racially offensive monkey impression, Liverpool Magistrates' Court was told.

The incident happened amid a volatile atmosphere at Anfield on January 28th this year when the two sides met in an FA Cup fourth-round clash, Rob Girvan, prosecuting, told the court.

It was the first game between the Premier League rivals since an eight-match ban was imposed on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Evra.

In the 23rd minute of the game, the TV camera panned over fans in the lower Centenary Stand, where Gannon was sitting with two friends, and he was seen to position his hands under his armpits.

The coverage, broadcast worldwide, quickly spread across social networking site Twitter and complaints were made to police, the court heard.

Gannon, a carpenter and joiner from Heol Meirion, Barmouth, north Wales, was found guilty of two counts of using abusive or insulting words within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused alarm or distress.

The bench imposed a four-year banning order which stops Gannon from attending Liverpool and England games and also bans him from Liverpool city centre four hours before and after a match.

Gannon was also fined a total £180 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £300.

Brendan Rodgers Goes Back To School

The Liverpool Football Club manager, Brendan Rodgers, has made a surprise visit to his former secondary school.

The Northern Ireland native made the unscheduled stop at St Patrick's College in Ballymena during a trip home to see his family in County Antrim.

He met pupils and staff, signed autographs and posed for photographs.

The new Anfield boss also congratulated his former PE teacher, Paul McKee, who was recently honoured by the Queen for his services to amateur sport.

He made the trip with his brother who had picked him up from the airport to take him to his hometown of Carnlough.

Mr. McKee said the visit was "completely out of the blue".

He said the Liverpool boss had a cup of tea and "a chat" with members of staff before the word spread among the students about his arrival.

"He had time for everyone," said Mr. McKee, "and it was always with a smile."

The teacher said Mr. Rodgers had a "great love and affection" for the school and spent 40 minutes meeting pupils.

Mr. McKee remembers him as a "good pupil who never left the sports hall".

Although the school did not participate in competitive soccer in the 1980s, he recalled how the new Liverpool boss had displayed a talent for basketball before achieving success in his football career.

"He was my point guard, and a very clever one he was too," he said.

Mr. McKee had recently sent him a card congratulating him on his new job.

The Liverpool manager was able to return the favour on Thursday and congratulate his former teacher on his own achievement.

Mr. McKee was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list "for services to amateur sport, basketball and the community".

The principal of St Patrick's College, Catherine Magee, said: "He just decided to pop in to see us all and we were delighted."

She added that despite winning one of the top jobs in football, Brendan Rodgers' feet remain very firmly on the ground.

"He has always been good at maintaining links with the school and we have followed his career with great interest and pride," she said.

Thursday's surprise visit was not the first time he has returned to St Patrick's College.

On a previous occasion, he was invited as a guest speaker at their annual prize day.

The 39-year-old was raised in Carnlough in County Antrim and spent much of his school days playing Gaelic football, hurling and basketball.

He was forced to retire as a player at the age of 20 because of a genetic knee condition and turned to a career in coaching.

Before securing the top job at Liverpool, he was a youth team coach for Reading and Chelsea before moving on to managerial positions with Watford, Reading and Swansea City.