Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Arsenal & Liverpool Facing Fight Over Argentine International

Arsenal and Liverpool face competition from Premier League rivals Southampton in the race to sign Lucas Biglia, according to reports.

The Daily Mirror claims new Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino has set his sights on the seven-cap Argentine international, and is eager to bring his compatriot to St. Mary’s in the January transfer window.

Pochettino tried to sign the player whilst in La Liga, and is again chasing the Anderlecht star now his home is on the south coast in the Premier League.

However, the former Espanyol chief faces competition for the £8million-rated midfielder, with both the Gunners and Reds also keen on the 26-year-old.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been heavily linked with a move for the player for years, with Sky Sports reporting in August that he was first keen on Biglia back in 2006.

His pursuit of the former Independiete star failed in the summer though, as Alex Song departed the Emirates Stadium for pastures new in Barcelona.

Six months later, the link to Arsenal has returned, and Biglia would certainly add more bite to the Arsenal midfield if he were to move to north London.

Liverpool, meanwhile, is another club to have been linked with the holding-midfielder for several months.

Indeed, The Daily Mail claimed in December that Anfield chief Brendan Rodgers had been put on alert over the player after Anderlecht told Biglia he could leave in January.

If Liverpool do want to add the Argentine on Merseyside, they know that there is plenty of competitors standing in their way though, and a transfer battle could ensue over the coming week.

Liverpool & Juventus Scout A-League Star

Liverpool and Juventus are set to send scouts to watch Melbourne Victory star Marco Rojas this weekend, according to Sky Sports.

The 21-year-old forward is the Australian A-League's most exciting talent, and local reports claim Liverpool and Juventus scouts will be in attendance for Melbourne Victory's match against Sydney FC this Saturday.

The New Zealand international has a contract with the Victory that expires in three months' time, and both clubs are likely to make bids in the region of £500,000 if Rojas makes a position impression at the weekend.

The Kiwi forward is of Chilean descent, and having bagged 10 goals in just 15 league games for his side this season, is one of the hottest properties Down Under.

Melbourne Victory are keen to keep hold of Rojas, and head coach Ange Postecoglou has claimed he is unaware of any interest in the player from abroad.

Still, he conceded that Rojas could be sold for the right price.

"I'm in contact with his dad very regularly and at this stage we're confident he'll stay with us until the end of the season," Postecoglou told the Herald Sun.

"At this stage we're comfortable with how he's going and where things are at."

Liverpool made the first major move of the January transfer window when they snapped up Danny Sturridge from Chelsea for a fee in the region of £12m.

Sturridge has gone on to make an immediate impact for the Reds, scoring in each of his first three appearances for his new club.

But Rojas would be more one for the future. The Melbourne Victory attacker joined the club from Wellington Phoenix in 2011, and the New Zealand international has made 13 appearances for his country, scoring one goal.

£5m Liverpool Keeper Link Dismissed

The agent of Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has played down speculation linking his client to Liverpool.

Jorge Berlanga insists that, whilst many clubs are interested in the 27-year-old stopper, transfer talk is nothing more than rumour at this stage.

"Many clubs are interested in Memo, and they have been watching him, but we are still at the stage of rumours," Berlanga told So Foot.

A 50-cap international, the Ajaccio star has been linked with both Manchester United and Arsenal in the past, according to, and was recently tipped as a player to potentially replace Pepe Reina at Anfield.

Indeed, talkSPORT reported yesterday (Monday) that Brendan Rodgers was considering a £5million move for the player amidst talk that Reina could leave Liverpool for Spanish giants Barcelona at the end of the season.

A move for Ochoa would be seen as something of a gamble by the Anfield outfit however, with the Ligue 1 star yet to play in European cup competition during his career.

And, whilst his form has been impressive for the French strugglers, a move to Liverpool would represent a significant move up the football ladder for the former Club America keeper.

Liverpool Confident Of Securing Move For Coutinho

Liverpool is confident of making Inter Milan attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho their second signing of the January transfer window this week, reports suggest.

The Liverpool Echo report that the Reds had an opening offer in the region of £5 million rejected by the Nerazzurri, who told Brendan Rodgers’ side to increase their offer for the Brazilian. According to the Echo, Liverpool are expected to do just that sooner rather than later.

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was the man to originally bring the 20-year-old to European football, signing the youngster from Vasco De Gama in 2010 for £3 million. Coutinho, who has been capped once at senior level for his nation and made 27 appearances for Inter since his arrival at the San Siro, also spending a hugely successful half a season out on loan to La Liga outfit Espanyol this time last year.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was keen on bringing the attacking midfielder to the Premier League earlier in the transfer window, but a loan move to the relegation-threatened side failed to transpire.

Liverpool is confident of securing their second incoming transfer following the £12 million acquisition of Daniel Sturridge at the start of the month.

Reina Snr Urges Son To Trade Liverpool For Barcelona

Miguel Reina, father of Liverpool shot stopper Pepe Reina, is certain that his son would jump at the opportunity to replace Victor Valdes at Barcelona.

Valdes, who has been Barca’s number one custodian for the past decade revealed last week that he has no plans to renew his contract at the club when his current deal expires in the summer of 2014.

Miguel, who made 111 appearances for the Catalan giants between 1966 and 1973 before moving to Atletico Madrid, strongly believes that his son would be willing to call time on his career at Anfield if the opportunity to become Valdes’ replacement arose.

"I am absolutely convinced that Pepe would be more than delighted to return to his Barcelona, where they made him into an upstanding man from the time he arrived at the age of 12 until he left,” Reina Snr said, Spanish newspaper Marca report.

"I say it publicly: I would be delighted to see Pepe back at Barca, of course I would. What father would not like to see his son at Barca?

"He has already been there but to return would be extraordinary.

Hearts Eye Liverpool Striker Michael Ngoo

Liverpool’s Michael Ngoo is one of several strikers being monitored by Hearts as they consider whether to reinforce their attack with another loan move. The Evening News has learned that Ngoo’s name is on a shortlist of potential targets from south of the Border.

The 20-year-old has been watched several times by the Hearts manager John McGlynn and director of football John Murray in recent months. He is an England Under-19 and Under-20 internationalist, 6ft 4in tall and is known for his lightning pace and physical presence up front.

He is able to play as a lone striker or as part of a two or three-man attack. Hearts have yet to decide whether to move for Ngoo or go for one of the other options on their list.

As revealed recently, McGlynn is keen to recruit a new striker if possible. Hearts are restricted by the SPL to signing under-21 players on a one-in-one-out basis.

Having replaced Ryan McGowan with Danny Wilson from Liverpool, they could return to Anfield to broker 
another loan agreement with Peter Enckelman’s place in the squad still open.

Ngoo joined Liverpool in September 2009 from Southend United for a fee potentially worth up to £250,000. He scored 15 goals in 21 games for Liverpool’s under-18s in season 2010/11, which earned him promotion to the club’s reserve squad. He was also part of the England’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia in 2011.

McGlynn’s dealings with the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, over Wilson were smooth and uncomplicated, and today he praised the Northern Irishman for allowing the centre-back to move north until the end of the season.

“I have to thank Liverpool and Brendan for being so co-operative and allowing Danny to come here,” he said.

“We’d earmarked Danny for some time and had been down watching some games, but it was just coincidence that the transfer ban was lifted.

“Fortunately for us, Danny falls into that under-21 category.”

Wigan Interested In Coates

Wigan have gained a reputation for giving their best performances after putting themselves at risk of relegation.

As the Latics sit in 19th place after 23 games this season, manager Roberto Martinez is planning a few loan signings with Premier League experience under their belt to help pull off their signature escape yet again.

The Telegraph quoted Martinez as saying, “I’ll have to address this in the transfer market. It is difficult for a foreign player to come in January and make an impact.”

The Wigan manager has already taken young Man United forward Angelo Henriquez on loan and he is now reportedly looking at defensive reinforcements in the form of Liverpool’s Sebastian Coates.

The young Uruguayan has failed to make an impact at Anfield and with Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger playing for Liverpool on a regular basis, he could move to the DW Stadium for the rest of the season.

Liverpool Legend Unsure Over New Contract

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed his frustration at the lack of first team opportunities afforded to him by manager Brendan Rodgers, and admits the Anfield veteran admits he is unsure if a new contract will be forthcoming at the end of the season.

Carragher has started only twice in the Premier League for Liverpool this term, with his most recent appearance coming in the 5-0 trouncing of Norwich on Saturday.

With 720 games played for Liverpool over the course of a career spanning 17 years, Carragher is behind only Ian Callaghan on the club's list of appearance makers, but the 34-year-old is having to become used to lack of regular action.

Despite being in the twilight of his professional years at 34-years-old, Carragher is as hungry to play for Liverpool as he has ever been, and is finding it difficult to accept being a peripheral figure.

"The manager has been great with me. He has tried to keep me involved," Carragher said, as reported by ESPN. "But listen, I want to start. I’m no different to any other player.

"[Norwich] was only my second start in the league this season, which is disappointing from my point of view, but I said I wouldn't complain and I’m just trying to get more starts and be involved between now and the end of the season.

"I've played a lot in Europe, the FA Cup and League Cup, but the Premier League is the most important thing for the club and the players. We all want to play in that, and I’m no different.

"I won't lie, it's been a difficult season for me in terms of starting games."

Carragher's current deal with Liverpool expires at the end of the season, and although the centre-back would prefer to stay at Anfield, he does not know what the future holds.

"I'll chat to the manager at the end of the season," Carragher added. "I'm open-minded and I'm sure the club is. It's not about what I’m going to do, that's something we can sort out one way or another.

"It's up to the manager and the club to make a decision about a new contract. It's down to them. I'm pleased I got a game at the weekend and I'll hope to get a few more games now."

Wilson Doesn't Regret Reds Move

New Hearts loan signing Danny Wilson admits his long-term future is likely to be away from Liverpool - but he believes he has improved as a player since moving to Anfield.

Wilson has made only nine first-team appearances for Liverpool since his multi-million pound move from Rangers in July 2010.

Then 18, Wilson had played 25 times for the Ibrox club, including in the Champions League, and won Scottish Premier League and League Cup winners' medals in his only season in the first team.

But he has no regrets about making the switch despite admitting his Anfield career looks likely to end when his contract expires in the summer.

"I wouldn't say it backfired," said Wilson, who made his Hearts debut in Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Celtic 24 hours after signing until the end of the campaign.

"I didn't play as much as I hoped when I went down there. But it served its purpose.

"I left Rangers with the intention to become a better football player. I feel I have done that so I don't think it backfired.

"I don't regret anything. I made the decision at the time and I have to stand by my decision.

"I've learned things that I don't know if I would have learned.

"I was playing against better players in training, the likes of (Luis) Suarez. You can only learn from that. I just want to put what I had into practice in games now."

Wilson, who has five full caps for Scotland, has not played under Brendan Rodgers and does not expect to.

"It's going to be difficult for me to have a future at Liverpool," the 21-year-old said.

"They have four centre-backs there who are fighting for two positions really.

"You see players who played in past seasons not playing as much now.

"I have not really managed to force my way in. My only thinking now is to get out and play and what happens, happens.

"But that's not for me to decide, if Brendan Rodgers wants me. If not I will do what's best for me, and what's best for me now is to be playing football."

Wilson only played a few minutes in his recent loan move to Bristol City, although a minor hamstring problem cut short his stay.

And he is just concentrating on playing first-team games rather than looking further ahead, with Saturday's Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final against Inverness next up.

"I'm not really thinking too much into the future, I'm just thinking about the here and now," Wilson said.

"I've not played much football recently so the most important thing is to get out and play.

"I'm at Hearts now and I am focusing on doing as well as I can for them.

"I'm a footballer who just wants to play football. I'm going to be out of contract and it's better for me to be playing.

"Whichever way it looks, whether it's a shop window or to do well at Hearts, I'm here to do both and hopefully they marry together."

Wilson would not rule out a longer-term stay at Hearts, but the club could struggle to put together a deal given they are set to further cut their playing budget in the summer.

"I don't see why not," when asked about the possibility of staying at Tynecastle.

"Time will tell. I need to do well first and foremost, I can't just assume I will be here for a few years. I need to earn that right.

"Anything that happens, happens, but the next few weeks and months are the most important thing for me right now."