Sunday, June 02, 2013

Liverpool Prepared To Sell Suárez For £50m-Plus

Liverpool will consider selling Luis Suárez but only for a club-record fee of more than £50m. Their leading striker is intent on ending a turbulent two-and-a-half-year career in English football.

Suárez declared on Friday that he wants to leave Liverpool when giving a third interview in two days expressing disillusionment with life in England. He had previously encouraged interest from Real Madrid by stating it would be hard to reject the Spanish club, then suggested it is time for a "change of environment" before taking matters further and announcing his desire to quit the Premier League.

That prompted an emphatic response from Liverpool, who have been unable to rein in the 26-year-old while he is on international duty in his native Uruguay but are determined not to be coerced into a deal with Madrid or any other club. A Liverpool spokesperson said: "Luis Suárez is not for sale. Neither Luis or his representatives have communicated these feelings directly to Liverpool football club. The club remains supportive of Luis and expects him to honour his contract. We will not be making any further comment at this stage."

Suárez will have to submit a written transfer request to challenge Liverpool's position but the club's stance is unlikely to change until they receive an offer greater than the £50m banked from Chelsea for Fernando Torres.

Liverpool are obliged to inform Suárez of any club prepared to activate a clause, believed to be in excess of £40m, that was included in the new four-year contract he signed last August. The clause will trigger negotiations should he wish to speak to that club, but not an automatic sale, and Liverpool would enter any talks insisting the Uruguay international is a better, fitter player than Torres was in January 2011.

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, conceded last week that Suárez does have his price but his view on the player's future has not changed in light of recent comments. He said then: "They [Fenway Sports Group, the club's owner] have been absolutely unequivocal in their resolve in terms of wanting to keep him. Listen, every player has their price but there's certainly no pressure for the club to sell him. We're trying to build that bit of quality, so he's not for sale."

Suárez has repeatedly claimed his reason for wanting to leave is not financial or the lure of Champions League football, with Liverpool failing to qualify for Europe next season, but his treatment by the press in England. Ahead of Uruguay's friendly against France in Montevideo on 4 June he said: "It is a difficult moment for me. My coach and my colleagues know that they [the media] didn't treat me well. Because of the paparazzi I could not go in my garden, I could not go to the supermarket. My reason for leaving is not the money. It's my family and image. I don't feel comfortable here any more."

Suárez was a target for photographers after he bit the Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April, an act that resulted in a 10-match ban from the FA and, he has now confirmed, prompted him to reconsider his future. "The straw that broke the camel's back was my mistake," he said of his second suspension for biting an opponent. The first was with Ajax in 2010.

The striker claims he has not agreed a deal with Real but Liverpool had feared he would push for a move despite their steadfast support over the Patrice Evra racism controversy and the Ivanovic issue. Those two incidents alone have landed Suárez with suspensions totalling 18 matches but the player claims it is the press who has sullied his image.

Liverpool To Hijack Madrid’s Plans To Sign Spanish Winger

Liverpool is set to offer Sevilla £17m in a bid to land winger Jesus Navas this summer.

The 27-year old winger has drawn interest from a number of top European clubs, including Real Madrid and Manchester City, in recent months but Liverpool is now plotting a bid and may have cash to burn if Luis Suarez departs.

The Daily Express suggests that Navas is still undecided on whether he wants a move to the Premier League or to stay in La Liga but Brendan Rodgers’ is keen to bring the elusive winger to Anfield before the start of next season.

The Sevilla star has a wealth of international experience that includes a World Cup and European Championship winners medal and Rodgers is hoping that Navas can bring additional flair to a Liverpool side that is still lacking in creativity from his wide players, after Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have failed to live up to their big price tags.

No deal is set in place just yet, but with Sevilla in financial trouble, they may look to solve this solution early by looking to offload one of their talented players quickly, with Liverpool the likely destination.

Liverpool Set To Swoop For Norwegian

Liverpool supporters believe their club is set for a busy summer and Sky Sports report that Celtic defender Thomas Rogne could be set for a summer switch to Anfield.

The 22-year-old's contract expires this summer and he admits that his future remains uncertain amid interest from Anfield after he turned down an offer of a new contract from the SPL side.

The Norwegian international centre back, who performed well for the Bhoys this season, is currently in Israel for the Under-21 European Championships where he will be trying to attract further admirers from the Premier League during the youth tournament with impressive performances.

He told Sky Sports: “The only thing to do is to play U21 Championship for Norway. The rest we will take later.

“It’s basically a perfect showcase. Doing well down there, it’s a very nice window. But it can go both ways, you could also make a bad championship.”

Liverpool have already added Manchester City defender Kolo Toure to their ranks but still require another defender after the retirement of Jamie Carragher and Rogne would certainly bring the quality needed to the club.

Liverpool On Alert For Bargain Sporting Lisbon Forward

Liverpool will be on alert after it was reported in Portugal that Sporting Lisbon made a huge loss in their last financial year which could result in the Premier League side swooping in to sign long term target Jeffren in a cut price deal.

The 25 year old was being tracked by Liverpool last November in the hope they could bring him in during the winter transfer window, but they may be able to go back in for him with Sporting Lisbon needing to reduce their financial debt.

Record revealed that the Portuguese club made a loss of €29.7m in the period between 1st July 2012 to 31st March 2013 and all though this was a slight decrease on the previous financial year it still added to the already spiraling debt at the football club.

Sporting Lisbon’s issues may result in the club having to offload players in the next transfer window with Liverpool likely to be monitoring the situation with Jeffren.

The Mirror claimed last November that Brendan Rodgers wanted to bring in Jeffren on loan with a view to a permanent transfer during the January transfer window.

The forward has a buyout clause of €30m with Sporting Lisbon, but it is unlikely they will be able to command such a fee with the club being in financial difficulties and could lose him in a cut price deal.

Barcelona has an option to buy him back for £9m but it is unlikely he will return to Catalonia where he struggled to hold down a first team place.

Sporting Lisbon have already had to off load players to ease their debt with star forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel already confirmed as leaving in the summer.

The Dutchman agreed to join fellow Premier League side Norwich City in March for £8.5m and it is likely he won’t be the only player to be leaving Sporting Lisbon in the summer.

Jeffren would be another exciting buy for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and a chase for him could prove some distraction from the constant Luis Suarez circus.

Liverpool Scouts Monitoring Coveted Parma Striker

With the future of Luis Suarez very much up in the air at the moment, and Daniel Sturridge;s fitness an ongoing concern, Liverpool are very much in the market for another striker this summer, and reports in Italy this week claim that Reds scouts are monitoring Parma striker Nicolas Sansone.

According to TMW, both Arsenal and Liverpool are interested in German-born Sansone. Both clubs have scouted the striker 'on more than one occasion.

Parma manager Roberto Donadoni seems determined to hold onto the 21-year old striker, and Wednesday, he told ITASportsPress:

"He will stay in Parma. There has been no transfer request so far. Nothing from Milan, or Roma"

Since breaking into the Parma first-team last season, Sansone has grabbed 6 goals and 2 assists in 26 apps (17 starts), which equates to a goal/assist every 2.1 games.

In a recent interview, Sansone praised Donadoni for helping with his development. He told reporters:

"He [Donadoni] helps me so much and is always gives me lots of great advice".

With Iago Aspas allegedly on the verge of signing for Liverpool, I don't see how Sansone is needed. However, if the Reds to sign another striker, it will hopefully be someone with a little more experience, and a more prolific goal record.

Liverpool Look To Osvaldo

After links with Tottenham, now Liverpool have also expressed an interest in controversial Roma striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo.

The Argentine-born forward who plays his international football for Italy is expected to leave Roma following a series of rows.

Last week he was dropped from Italy’s Confederations Cup squad after insulting Giallorossi Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli both on the pitch and via Twitter.

He has had numerous run-ins with the fans and teammates, including an incident last season when he punched Erik Lamela in the locker room after a defeat to Udinese.

English media claim Liverpool have targeted Osvaldo as a replacement should Luis Suarez go to Real Madrid.

Osvaldo scored 17 goals in 29 games for Roma this term and the 27-year-old had also been heavily linked with Tottenham last month.

Rafa Seeks Liverpool Duo

Rafa Benitez intends to poach Liverpool defenders Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger for Napoli, according to reports.

The new Coach is looking to his past as he begins this adventure at the Stadio San Paolo.

Il Mattino newspaper is the latest to suggest Benitez has requested two reinforcements from Liverpool.

Skrtel is the top target with numerous reports of Napoli interest for the 28-year-old Slovakian centre-back.

Another option is Agger, although he is less likely to arrive, so the Partenopei are turning their focus on to Torino’s Angelo Ogbonna instead.

Christian Atsu Set For Liverpool Transfer

Christian Atsu has cleared the way for a move to Liverpool this summer by turning down a new contract at Porto in favour of a ‘dream move to England’.

The 21-year-old, who was a target for the Reds last summer, had been offered fresh terms on a new four-year-deal with the Portuguese champions, but he has now rejected that offer.

And speaking to Abola, Atsu says he is now hopeful of forcing through a switch to the Premier League.

‘I spoke with Porto before coming to this decision and informed them that I will not sign a new contract,’ he said.

‘The club told me what they want to do, and hopefully we can find a solution now.

‘My dream is to play in England and it is very nice to see my name linked with big clubs in the Premier League. For now, I’m focused on my football, but I see my future in England.

‘I hope to have some news soon.’

Liverpool is now expected to step up their interest in Atsu, who burst on to the scene on-loan at Rio Ave in 2012, before returning to Porto for last season.

He has since enjoyed a mixed time, but the Reds are expected to offer up to £7million to bring to him to Anfield.

The Ghana international fits with Brendan Rodgers’ youth based philosophy, and despite interest from Spurs, they remain confident of pulling off a transfer.

Reina To Barcelona Blocked By Valdes Stay

After all of last week's commotion surrounding the goalkeeping position at Liverpool, things have died down to the point of silence, with no further links appearing to Asmir Begovic or anyone else.

Some indirectly relevant news, though, as Barcelona's Victor Valdes announced his intent to stay with the club through the end of the 2013-2014 season.

Pepe Reina had been widely reported to have interest in a move back to Spain, but with Valdes intent on staying, it'd be hard to see Liverpool's number one make an exit now.

Liverpool likely will (and should) continue to look for a long-term replacement for Reina, who still has a couple seasons left on his contract but isn't necessarily a lock to see out those years.

The Begovic agreement, which may or may not turn out to be a thing that actually happened made sense, with Jack Butland arriving at Stoke and seemingly the goalkeeper of the future for the club that's now led by Mark Hughes.

It's probably naive to hope that this signals the end of the Reina exit talk, but as with before, I'd guess there's plenty of twists left to come.

Valdes' intent to stay doesn't mean he actually will (though I think it does), and Reina could very well push for a move regardless of whether or not Valdes leaves.

It'd be nice for the club to get at least one more season with Pepe, though, as his stronger second half could be indicative of a renaissance for a player whose performance have been in relative decline for a number of seasons.

Academy Products A Top Priority For Liverpool

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has declared it vital that the club continue to bring through local youngsters in the manner of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard.

Carragher, 35, brought his 16-year Anfield first-team career to an end when he retired following the final Premier League game of the season against Queens Park Rangers on May 19, while club captain Gerrard, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Thursday, is still going strong for Liverpool 15 years after making his debut.

Both graduated through the club's youth set-up to become England internationals, and Ayre sees that local link as a key part of the Reds' future.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has given first-team debuts to five former youth teamers this season - Conor Coady, Andre Wisdom, Jerome Sinclair, Adam Morgan and Jordon Ibe - along with talented foreign signings like Suso and Samed Yesil.

Of those seven, Coady and Morgan are Liverpool born and bred, with the remaining five players brought in from other clubs' youth programs to finish their development on Merseyside.

Spaniard Suso came in from home-town club Cadiz, Dusseldorf-born Yesil from Bayer Leverkusen, South Londoner Ibe from Wycombe, Birmingham-born Sinclair from West Brom and Leeds-born Wisdom from Bradford City.

Ayre sees finding the best young talent from around the world as an important part of the Liverpool youth set-up's work under academy director Frank McParland, but is keen to see local players make the breakthrough too.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "Jamie epitomizes what we're trying to achieve at the academy. He came all the way through the system from the age of nine and was a wonderful servant to the club. Jamie and Steven are the two best examples of what Frank turns up for work for every day.

"We've seen the likes of Martin Kelly, Jon Flanagan and Jack Robinson come through in recent years and we want other local lads to carry that on.

"I've been watching Liverpool since about 1965 and I can't remember a Liverpool team which didn't have a Scouser in it. I hope that never happens. They have to be good enough but hopefully there will always be local players in there."

Ayre says that the academy, which costs between £6 million and £7 million a year to run, is central to the plans of owners Fenway Sports Group to make Liverpool title contenders again.

"It's a big investment but it's money well spent," Ayre said. "Both John Henry and Tom Werner have been to the academy and they see it as a pipeline to success.

"You can't really put a price on it. How do you put a price on the contribution we've had over the years from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher?

"The owners are hugely supportive and see great value in the work that's done at the academy."