Thursday, April 04, 2013

Liverpool Still Plan To Sell Carroll For £17m

Andy Carroll’s loan spell at West Ham has done nothing to persuade Liverpool he will revive his career at Anfield next season, but the Merseyside club will not lower their £17 million asking price this summer.

Although there is a prospect Carroll may have to return to his parent club in time for the next pre-season, that would only be in the event of further haggling over his fee, with Newcastle United sure to rival West Ham and revive their interest in re-signing their former player.

It is still Liverpool’s intention to sell Carroll at the earliest opportunity, but as they proved last summer, not on the cheap.

Liverpool face West Ham United this weekend, although Carroll will be ineligible for the Anfield fixture under Premier League rules.

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, plans to meet Carroll at the end of the campaign to discuss his future, but it will be made clear his position has not changed in the last 12 months, particularly as the Merseysiders have since added to their attacking options.

At best, Carroll would only be a squad player for Liverpool with Rodgers having already shaped his team in a way which he does not feel would suit the 24-year-old’s strengths.

There is no desire on the club’s part to have a highly paid player stuck on the bench, nor on Carroll’s to see his career stall when he wants to be a regular starter and has ambitions to force his way back into the England fold in time for the World Cup.

As it stands, West Ham is in the prime position to make Carroll a permanent signing. As part of their year-long loan offer, they secured the option to conclude a longer-term deal for £17 million if they avoided relegation.

Sam Allardyce’s side are relatively safe in mid-table, but there have been no discussions yet between the parties about triggering Carroll’s clause as it remains a substantial investment for the London club.

Carroll will also be weighing up his options, influenced by whether Allardyce - who has championed the former England striker and made it clear he wants to keep him - signs a new contract.

The issue will be further complicated by Newcastle’s lingering hopes of taking Carroll back to the North-East - providing they stay up.

They baulked at Liverpool’s asking price a year ago, refusing to pay more than £12 million for a player they sold for £35 million in January, 2011.

Liverpool, however, will reopen negotiations with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew if West Ham do not take up the option of buying Carroll because they are interested in discussing a potential player swap-deal.

Rodgers is an admirer of French midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, whose form and fitness he has been monitoring throughout the season because he believes he could fit seamlessly into the Liverpool line-up.

Carroll has scored five goals in his 17 appearances for West Ham.

Liverpool has recruited Daniel Sturridge since allowing Carroll to go alone. Sturridge is already under pressure to add consistency to his natural talent having been left out of the side that defeated Aston Villa last weekend.

If Carroll returned to Anfield now, he would not even be guaranteed a place on the bench on a week-to-week basis.
Rodgers still needs to raise as many funds as possible by offloading those surplus to requirements while also keeping control of his squad’s wage bill so that underused players are not absorbing valuable resources. It all adds up to Carroll’s return being an inconvenience the club would have to reluctantly deal with as and when it happened, rather than a chance for a fresh start.

Manchester United & Liverpool Set For Transfer Fight Over Spanish Midfielder

Manchester United and Liverpool could go head-to-head in a race to sign Thiago Alcantara, according to reports in Spain.

AS claims the Barcelona midfielder is on the radar of both Premier League clubs, with his future in Catalonia far from certain after falling down the pecking order at the Nou Camp.

The player’s father, Mazinho, has certainly put clubs on alert with his comments at the end of last week, with The Daily Mail claiming his remarks would re-ignite interest from the Red Devils, after a £15million bid was rejected 18 months ago.

“He’s learning a lot playing with great players but Thiago is very ambitious and needs to play,” said Mazinho, according to the Mail.

“No-one knows what might happen in the future. Football changes a lot and anything can happen. If Thiago wants to go to the 2014 World Cup, he needs to play much more.

“Thiago has the quality to succeed at Barca. But he’d play a lot more at another club. He’d get into any other team in the world. I don’t know if Barca is buying more players in the summer. They already have a lot of players who can play in the middle. Also, [his brother] Rafinha will be part of the first team squad next season.”

Despite having a £25million buyout clause in his contract, a figure £10million below that price would be enough to bring the player to England, according to the paper.

Manchester United aren’t short of quality in midfield, with Shinji Kagawa drafted in last summer to provide Sir Alex Ferguson with some attacking flare.

However, veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are moving closer to retirement at Old Trafford, and will need to be replaced at some stage by the Red Devils.

Alcantara could be the man for Manchester United, but they are unlikely to have things all their own way in a potential transfer race.

Liverpool have also set their sights on the player, according to the Spanish paper, and would love to get one over on their rivals in the transfer market.

The Reds have a number of Spaniards already on their books at Anfield, with Pepe Reina, Suso, Jose Enrique and Daniel Pacheco in-and-around the first team.

Alcantara would certainly add some extra quality to the Liverpool side, and also join an exciting crop of youngsters currently plying their trade under Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside.

Boss Admits Yilmaz Could Make Move

Galatasaray boss Faith Terim has admitted the club will struggle to keep hold of Burak Yilmaz this summer with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all interested in signing the striker, according to the Express.

The Turkish hitman only moved to Galatasaray from Trabzonspor last summer but has seen his stock rise considerably after hitting 26 goals in his 31 appearances so far.

The 27-year-old has also impressed in Europe this season and is joint top scorer in the Champions League with 8 goals in 8 games, which included scoring the winner against United last November.

The Express claim Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool are all keeping a close eye on the player and suggest an offer of £10m could be enough to land him at the end of the season, and now boss Terim has admitted it’s going to be extremely difficult for the Turkish club to keep hold of the free-scoring Yilmaz this summer.

Arsenal and Liverpool could be on the look-out for another striker this summer with both clubs looking a little light of options up front at times this season, so you could see the sense in a move for someone like Yilmaz.

But if United are to make a move for Turkish striker you’d expect Sir Alex Ferguson will have to sell one of his current crop of forwards first. With Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck already on the books at Old Trafford Fergie already has an abundance of talent available to him so it would be difficult to see where Yilmaz would fit in without on of the quartet making way.

Liverpool Plot Raid For Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez.

Liverpool is plotting a raid for Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez.

The Anfield side has added the forward to a list of players they are keeping tabs on.

Rodriguez, 23, has flourished at St Mary’s under new boss Mauricio Pochettino and the Reds have taken note.

He has scored in his last two games, one a stunning solo effort in Southampton’s 3-1 win over Liverpool last month.

Rodriguez fits the profile of young players with potential that Liverpool’s owners and boss Brendan Rodgers want to bring to Anfield.

But they would face a huge battle to prise him away from the Saints.

Rodriguez only joined them from home-town club Burnley last summer, on a four-year contract, for a then club record £7m.

West Ham Open To Securing Permanent Move For Carroll

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is entertaining the possibility of signing Andy Carroll permanently in the summer.

Carroll has struggled to shake off injuries and form at times at Upton Park, but rediscovered his golden touch when he helped himself to a double during the Hammers' 3-1 victory against West Brom which looks to have all but secured their Premier League status for next season.

The forward who is on loan from Liverpool, has been given a new lease of life after his chastening time at Anfield.

Allardyce is now eyeing a permanent deal for Carroll when the transfer window re-opens.

He said: "Would I like him here next season? The answer is yes.

"But there are a lot of things that need to be done. We will look at that at the end of the season. There is always a possibility.

"Andy showed that he is not just a threat in the air, but is very good on the ground as well. His volleyed goal was fantastic technique."

Carroll has five Premier League goals to his account so far this season.

Liverpool Battle Tottenham For Moses Daddy-Ajala

Liverpool will fight it out with Tottenham for Nigerian starlet Moses Daddy-Ajala.

The Premier League pair have been tracking the winger, 17, who is compared to Cristiano Ronaldo in his homeland.

He is tipped to become the next Nigerian wide man to make his mark in Europe and follow in the footsteps of Chelsea’s Victor Moses.

Daddy-Ajala is owned by the same Nigerian academy that produced former Reds target Ahmed Musa, who is now at CSKA Moscow.

He was set to join one of Nigeria’s top-flight clubs but those plans have been shelved due to the growing interest from England.

Daddy-Ajala has yet to play for Nigeria but is expected to qualify for a work permit under the special talent rule.

Rodgers Quashes Reina Talk

Brendan Rodgers has dismissed speculation linking Pepe Reina with a move away from Liverpool by insisting their relationship is strong.

Reports have suggested that Reina could be a summer target for Barcelona, with Victor Valdes expected to leave after announcing that he does not intend to sign a new contract at Camp Nou.

However, Rodgers has stressed that Reina remains a key part of his plans for the future at Anfield, saying he has never had a problem with the 30-year-old.

"I think a lot of the stuff this year has just been based on the speculation that Valdes is going," said the Liverpool manager.

"I am counting on him for next season, yes. He's never been unsettled and our relationship is very strong.

"Pepe and I speak a lot. He's a good man and I've real respect for him."

Rodgers added: "I see him as someone who is going to be here. He is 30 years of age and is someone who looks after his body. The sports science team this year has worked really well with him.

"I think he's been outstanding and had great focus and hopefully that will continue for us."

Liverpool FC To Play In Thailand

Liverpool FC has announced they will play a match in Thailand this summer as part of their next pre-season tour.

The Reds, who last visited the country in 2009, will play as yet unnamed opposition in Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium on July 28.

Liverpool FC managing director Ian Ayre said: "We first went to Thailand in 2001 and this will be our fourth visit to the country, which we feel demonstrates our commitment to our fans in Thailand."

In a news release on their website, Liverpool FC estimate they have more than 14 million followers in Thailand.

Liverpool FC has now confirmed they will also travel to Australia to play a friendly against A-League side Melbourne Victory, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, on July 24.

Other aspects of the tour are yet to be confirmed but there have previously been suggestions the club could play in Indonesia.