Thursday, May 30, 2013

Liverpool Agree Fee For Iago Aspas

Sky Sports sources understand Liverpool have agreed a fee with Celta Vigo to sign highly-rated striker Iago Aspas.

The 25-year-old has scored 60 goals in 130 appearances for Celta and was strongly linked with a move to the Premier League in January.

Reading showed an interest, but was put off by Aspas' price, while Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City had also been mooted as admirers.

However, it is now understood that Liverpool are poised to win the chase for Aspas, who has a €10million (£8.6m) release clause in his contract.

If Liverpool can tie up a deal for the forward, he will become the second signing for Brendan Rodgers since the end of the Premier League season.

On Tuesday, the Reds confirmed that Manchester City defender Kolo Toure had agreed to move to Anfield on a free transfer in the summer.

Aspas' immediate priority, though, is on Celta's relegation battle, with the club inside the relegation zone with just one game to play.

Celta are a point adrift of fourth-bottom Deportivo La Coruna and face Espanyol at home in the final game of the season in La Liga on Saturday.

Liverpool Make €15m Offer For Clement Grenier

Liverpool have tabled a €15m (£12.8m) bid for Arsenal target Clement Grenier, according to the Mirror.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed his interest in the 22-year-old earlier this week and compared his style of play to that of former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri. However, it appears Liverpool may have jumped to the head of the queue with the Mirror claiming that the Merseysiders have made a €15m (£12.8m) bid for the playmaker.

Grenier has just 12 months left to run on his current contract at Lyon and the Ligue 1 outfit may have to cash in on the talented youngster this summer as he’s showing no signs of signing an extension. The report claims the Lyon president has slapped a €37m price tag on the players head but that’s likely just to be an inflated figure as part of his negotiation tactics.

The French outfit’s boss Remi Garde is desperate to hang on to Grenier and has advised the player to turn down a big-money move away from the club this summer in order to continue his development at Lyon.

Garde is a former Arsenal player himself and played under Wenger in the late 90′s so the north Londoners may feel they have the inside track if Lyon decides to sell this summer. But it seems Liverpool is keen to land the highly-rated attacker and if talk of a €15m bid proves to be accurate, the Gunners will need to make their move soon or risk losing out on Grenier altogether.

Liverpool Target Luis Muriel As Suarez Replacement

Liverpool is considering a move for Udinese striker Luis Muriel as a replacement for Luis Suarez if their star man leaves Anfield this summer, Goal understands.

Suarez has encouraged a £40 million transfer to Real Madrid by admitting he would find it hard to turn down the Spanish giants as he seeks Champions League football next season.

The Uruguayan has also privately refused to commit himself to Liverpool despite two meetings with the club in recent weeks and the Reds are believed to be ready to sell the 26-year-old to an overseas club.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers would be allowed to re-invest the transfer fee in full - on top of his £20m summer budget - and is lining up potential replacements for a player who scored 30 goals in all competitions last term.

Liverpool is closing in on a £6m deal for Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas but their move for the 25-year-old is unrelated to Suarez’s future as Rodgers looks to bolster his attacking options.

Aspas, who has bagged 12 goals for the relegation-threatened Liga outfit, had also attracted interest from Valencia and Swansea ahead of the summer transfer window.

However, Reds officials moved for the Spaniard after being alerted to Celta’s reduced asking price for the striker, with around £2m being knocked off their original valuation of £8m as a result of the club’s precarious league position.

Meanwhile Muriel has been identified as a potential target to replace Suarez following his impressive displays for Udinese, where he scored 11 league goals in 22 Serie A appearances during a season disrupted by injury.

The Colombian, 22, would cost in excess of £15m but Liverpool believe he has the potential to increase in value, while his style of play and eye for goal are similar to Suarez.

Muriel would be interested in a move to Anfield despite saying last week that he does not feel ready for a big-money move away for Udinese.

"I want to grow and improve as a player,” Muriel told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I want to stay in Udine for another couple of years. I have learnt so much here from boss Francesco Guidolin who helped me during my moments of difficulty."

Liverpool Join Arsenal In Race For Next Drogba

Liverpool have joined Arsenal in the race to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, according to reports.

The Daily Star claims Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has joined Gunners chief Arsene Wenger in pursuing the 20-year-old, who is also on the radar of both Borussia Dortmund and Swansea City.

Lukaku, dubbed ‘the next Didier Drogba’ by the paper, enjoyed a season to remember on loan at West Bromwich Albion last term, netting 17 goals in 35 games for Steve Clark’s side.

And, he’s admitted that he may have to leave Stamford Bridge to play regular first team football once again next season if he’s not in the new manager’s thoughts at Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho is favourite to take over once again under Roman Abramovich, and talks with Lukaku in west London are a priority for the player.

If the Belgian does move, then Liverpool would be more than happy to add an extra attacking edge to their side at Anfield.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are currently available to the manager on Merseyside, with injury hampering Fabio Borini’s progress on Merseyside.

Lukaku isn’t the only striker on the Liverpool radar though, with Iago Aspes reportedly closing on a move to the club.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are another Premier League team short of attacking options.

Olivier Giroud is the only senior central option available to Wenger, whilst Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski have also appeared through the middle when required for the Gunners.

Newcastle & Liverpool To Rekindle Interest In Barcelona Star

Newcastle and Liverpool could be ready to rekindle their interest in Bojan Krkic after AC Milan decided against keeping the Barcelona outcast.

The 22-year-old has been on loan at the San Siro this season but with opportunities limited, scored just three goals in 19 Serie A outings.

As such, Milan have now confirmed they are not prepared to pay the pre-agreed £12.5m to make the loan move permanent meaning Bojan will return to Barca this summer.

Newcastle and Liverpool have both been linked with the Spaniard, who is still the youngest player to play a league game for the Catalonian giants, and could be tempted to go back for him.

Bojan is also on the radar of Arsenal and Tottenham but it appears as though the north London rivals are ready to pursue other attacking targets.

Liverpool On The Verge Of Luis Alberto Signing

Balague reports this morning that Liverpool are on the verge of signing 20-year Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto – who has been on-loan to Barcelona B in the Spanish second division this season, and has scored 11 goals across the year.

In Balague’s own words – and he’s an excellent source for transfer news during the Summer months – Alberto is capable of playing in two of “three positions in 4-3-3 midfield, as false 9 or winger” and is “quality (at) set pieces.”

From the sound of it, this is an extremely promising player, and someone who – although probably won’t be a major factor in the first-team next year – will be given the opportunity to grow into the mould of a Liverpool player.

That’s a smart philosophy from Brendan Rodgers and FSG, because if someone like Alberto grows into the player he’s projected to be, then they wouldn’t be able to compete for him financially in three or four years.

Suarez Keen On Anfield Exit

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who is suspended for the first six games of next season’s Premier League campaign, is reportedly keen to leave Anfield this summer and has set his sights on a move to join Real Madrid.

According to reports by Guillem Balague in his latest column for Suarez may turn his back on the Anfield faithful and if he moves away from England then his suspension may not come into play at the start of next season.

Such news will come as a shock to the club’s loyal fan base who are more than aware of just how crucial a member of the Liverpool set-up the 26 year old striker is.

Suarez is in the middle of a ten game ban handed down to him after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and it has been made apparent by the Uruguayan that he feels unhappy with the manner in which he has been treated by the footballing authorities in the English top tier as well as the constant bombardment he has come under from the nation’s press. Brendan Rodgers has backed this up by saying he feels that the Football Association banned his star striker for the man and not punishment.

A move to Real Madrid for Luis Suarez may well be of interest to club president Florentino PĂ©rezone given that both Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema have failed to adequately support Cristiano Ronaldo and they may be following Jose Mourinho out the Bernabeu back door this summer.

Suarez had an excellent season in 2012/13, scoring 30 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions and has scored a total of 51 goals in 96 appearances since his £22.8m move from Ajax back in January 2011.

It would be a devastating loss to Brendan Rodgers if someone of Suarez’s ability and quality left Anfield but perhaps the manager only needs to look at how Liverpool won three and drew one of the four games, scoring ten goals in the process, at the end of last season when Suarez started his suspension.

Arsenal Set Sights On Martin Skrtel

Arsenal could make an approach for unsettled Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel in the summer.

The Gunners are desperate to revitalize their back four, with Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna continually linked with moves away from the Emirates.

Liverpool in the mean time snapped up Kolo Toure on a free transfer, and is still looking to make more defensive reinforcements following Jamie Carragher's retirement.

Though Arsenal have been tracking Swansea skipper Ashley Williams, it seems according to a British newspaper that they are ready to launch a £12m bid for Skrtel.

The Slovakian, who was unhappy about being dropped by Brendan Rodgers towards the back end of last season, has also previously been linked with a move to Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg.

Toure Signs For Liverpool

Kolo Toure will officially become a Liverpool player on July 1 after he completed a medical ahead of his move to Anfield.

Liverpool have agreed in principle a two-year deal with Toure, who has taken a drop in the £90,000 a week salary he was being paid by Manchester City.

His contract expires on June 30 and the formalities of the free transfer will be completed then.

Brendan Rodgers is anxious to bolster Liverpool’s defence in the wake of Jamie Carragher’s retirement and while Toure does not fit the profile of players who Liverpool sign under Fenway Sports Group, the 32-year-old will provide experienced cover.

Liverpool's need for fresh faces at the back is further accentuated by Skrtel's uncertain future at the club.

Speaking this week the Slovakian, who signed from Zenit St Petersburg in 2008, has revealed he is ready to consider offers to leave.

'I have not had any specific offers,' he said. 'But if some should come and they interest me, I would probably ponder it seriously. [But] I do not want to be that specific.

'The club has the biggest say in this in any case, because they have the right for it with me being contracted.

'Besides, I am not saying that I want to leave at any cost. I feel sorry for what happened in this season. But I have been here for five-and-a-half years and I have built a position here.'

Liverpool Await Sturridge Update

Liverpool is sweating on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge after the striker went off injured during England’s clash with Republic of Ireland on Wednesday evening.

Sturridge was stretchered off the field shortly after crossing for Frank Lampard’s equalizer during the 1-1 draw with suspected ankle ligament damage.

The 23-year-old has undergone a scan on his ankle, and will definitely miss England’s trip to Rio to take on Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

"He's not going to Brazil," England manager Roy Hodgson told reporters after the match. "He had a good start and we were sad to lose him.

"He hadn't played for a while and was carrying a slight injury. I fear it will keep him out for a few weeks."

Sturridge was making his first start for England after a blistering end to the season at Liverpool, scoring 10 goals in 14 Premier League appearances.