Monday, June 10, 2013

Fowler: Liverpool Must Keep 'World-Class' Suarez

Ex-Liverpool goalscorer Robbie Fowler is hoping Luis Suarez will be staying at Anfield for a long time, despite the Uruguayan's desire to leave.

Suarez has been a contentious figure throughout his time in the Premier League, and even though Fowler has condemned some of his previous actions, he believes Liverpool must do everything they can to prevent him from leaving.

The 26-year-old Uruguay international believes he has been "persecuted" by the British press, but Fowler insists his footballing skill heavily outweigh the controversies.

“He’s been on the record numerous times saying he doesn’t help himself,” Fowler said during the British Airways Football Legends Invitational tournament in Barbados.

“Rightly, we should be critical of some of the stuff he does, but let’s look at the footballing side of him.

“I’m not being biased when I say that, for me, he was the Premier League player of last year.”

Suarez has been linked to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in recent weeks, and says he feels like he has been forced out of the club following the infamous bite of Branislav Ivanovic in April.

But Fowler added: "Any side in the world with Luis Suarez is a better team, so I hope he stays at Liverpool a long time.

“You can understand why he’s linked with many sides over the world, because he is a world-class player.

“If he does go, it’s important that the money is spent wisely and you bring in a good amount of players.”

Real Madrid To Up Their Efforts To Sign Suarez

Real Madrid is ready to up the ante in their pursuit of Liverpool star Luis Suarez.

The Spanish giants were interested in signing strikers Edinson Cavani, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao - but have missed out on all three.

Cavani looks likely to move to Chelsea, Aguero has penned a new City deal and Falcao agreed a £50m move to cash-rich Monaco.

And in that time, one of their key frontmen - Gonzalo Higuain - has said he wants to leave the Bernabeu.

According to sources in Spain, Madrid will now concentrate all their efforts on signing Uruguayan Kop idol Suarez.

Bringing in a striker is a must for managerless Real and Suarez is their main target.

Suarez and his advisors are understood to have agreed personal terms with Madrid but Liverpool are keen to keep hold of their prized asset.

Luis Alberto Reportedly Agrees Personal Terms With Liverpool

With few developments during the week other than the slight mix-up on the Iago Aspas deal, Liverpool's hot start to the transfer window has seemed to cool a bit. Which doesn't really make any sense given that the window doesn't even open for another few weeks, but I want all the signings NOW! So it's good news that the club might be headed in that direction very shortly with a name we discussed last week, with Mundo Deportivo (and the Google Translate Spanish to English button) reporting that Luis Alberto has agreed personal terms with Liverpool.

All that's left now is for the two clubs to agree on a fee, and so long as Barcelona don't exercise whatever sort of clause was available to them after they took the youngster on loan for their B squad this past season, the player looks to be Liverpool's. I haven't been able to find much about Barca's interest, but I'd imagine after the season he put together, they'd at least make some sort of effort to keep him around.

The deal with Liverpool is apparently for four years, and while he's not a player for now (or at least I don't think he is just yet), he's someone who's not far off of first-team football at the highest level. It'll be interesting to see how he's handled if and when he does arrive, as there's a host of young, attack-minded midfielders at the club who'll be fighting for places in the senior setup. That's not a bad thing, of course, and his presence will hopefully benefit both him and his new teammates.

Liverpool Could Steal Kone From Martinez

Wigan striker Arouna Kone could make a surprise move to Liverpool.

It had widely been expected that the Ivorian, who scored eleven goals in his debut season for the Latics, would follow manager Roberto Martinez to Everton, especially after Dave Whelan said that he would not stop Martinez moving for any player at Wigan.

However, Brendan Rodgers is ready to step in an steal the 29-year-old from under Martinez’s nose, according to the Mirror.

Sam Allardyce has also enquired about the forward as West Ham look to join the race to sign the striker.

Meanwhile, the player’s potential move to Merseyside would bring more tension at Swansea.

Michael Laudrup reportedly advised the Swans to meet the £6.5m release clause in Kone’s contract as soon as Wigan were relegated but Swansea have been slow to act.

The news could tip Laudrup out of the exit door. He has been frustrated at the board’s reluctance to follow up on any of his transfer targets this summer, and both Fenerbahce and PSG are tracking any developments.

The Dane was unconvincing in pledging his future to the club this week.

"I have always said that my intention was, and is, to stay at the club," he told the South Wales Evening Post.

"I think all the speculation regarding my future is due to the fact that there hasn't been any good news since we played our last game three weeks ago. We all need some good news.”

Toby Alderweireld Alerts Liverpool And Tottenham

Liverpool and Tottenham target Toby Alderweireld has admitted he would welcome a move to the Premier League.

The 24-year-old Ajax centre back looked set to reject the advances of the English duo and opt for a move to Serie A outfit Roma instead.

However, Alderweireld has now distanced himself from a switch to Italy insisting his future lies in either the Premier League or the Bundesliga.

‘England and Germany are the best leagues where I think I can take the next step,’ he said.

‘I have to go somewhere where I can play football a bit and where my style of play suits.

MORE: Who is Liverpool and Spurs target Toby Alderweireld

‘On the other hand, I do not want to play for a team at the bottom of their league. I want to leave Ajax for a nice club, otherwise I’ll just stay in Amsterdam.’

The Belgian defender has made 181 appearances for the Dutch side winning the Eredivisie three years running, as well as the KNVB Cup.

Liverpool has been linked with Alderwiereld for some time with the Reds apparently seeing him as an excellent replacement for the retired Jamie Carragher.

Tottenham are also keen after the success compatriot Jan Vertonghen enjoyed in his first season at White Hart Lane.

Liverpool Linked With Valencia Youngster Pedro Chirivella

With no transfer strategy seemingly in place last summer--and no scouts to identify talent or form that strategy--Liverpool were left scrambling, and while they eventually got one of their men in Daniel Sturridge, it was clear that this summer would be the one in which Brendan Rodgers and his staff would try to make their mark.

Bringing Kolo Toure in on a free doesn't really have anything to do with that; it's a free and he's experienced, and while the wages are still a concern for many, it's a signing for depth and nothing more. Liverpool's other activity, though, signals that the emphasis on building for the future with a mix of promising talent and others ready to challenge for a first-team spot now wasn't just lip service, and the emerging link to midfielder Pedro Chirivella seems to be another step in that direction.

I'd say I know next to nothing about Chirivella, but that'd be a lie, as I know absolutely nothing about him other than that he's been captain of the U16 Spanish side and is viewed as one of the better prospects in the Valencia youth setup. Apparently Barcelona and Manchester City have been among the sides trying to shoulder their way in to bring him aboard, but Liverpool are widely reported to be in top position to bring him in.

As with the interest back in May in Barca youngster Sergi Canos (who either has or hasn't signed for Liverpool), it remains to be seen what comes of a link that could turn out to be tenuous and/or not even really a thing. But to see the club vying for a talented youngster's signature--on the continent, no less--is encouraging enough, showing that they're willing to look elsewhere to strengthen the youth ranks and prepare themselves for the future.

That's not enough for this window, of course, and Liverpool still have plenty of work to do. Chirivella may yet be the next Sergio Busquets, but that's not good enough to cover for Lucas now, and there are still a handful of needs the club needs to meet before we can fully enjoy any of the foundations being laid right now.

Sporting Want More For Ilori

Sporting Lisbon sources have told Sky Sports they have rejected an initial offer from Liverpool for defender Tiago Ilori.

The Premier League side is understood to have been locked in talks with Sporting and reportedly had a delegation in Portugal over the weekend.

The Reds were willing to pay around £3million for Ilori, but Sporting are said to want a deal worth double that.

It is claimed that as part of the proposed deal Liverpool are offering Oussama Assaidi on loan, but as yet no agreement has been reached.

"The doors are open to negotiate, but for a just price," a source confirmed to Sky Sports.

"We are not disposed to sell any of our players this summer."

Sporting are currently not in the best shape financially, but it is believed they have offered Ilori a new contract.

Liverpool Want Mignolet To Replace Reina

Liverpool will step up efforts to sign Sunderland No 1 Simon Mignolet after mixed messages from current goalkeeper Pepe Reina about his own future.

Reina has been linked with a move back to his first club Barcelona and Belgian international Mignolet would be a cheaper replacement at £7million that Stoke’s impressive Asmir Begovic who is valued at £12million.

Reina has insisted speculation about his future is not a distraction but would only say he is committed to Liverpool ‘right now’.

Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has said he will only leave Liverpool this summer if there is an offer from Barcelona.

Reina said: ‘I have a contract at Liverpool and I feel valued there. They only reason I would plan to move elsewhere is if there was interest in me from Barcelona.’

The Spanish Champions want to sell Victor Valdes to Monaco this summer and bring in Reina. But Valdes wants to see out the last year of his contract at the Camp Nou so that he can pocket what would be a sizeable signing on fee next summer.

Liverpool FC Ready To Sell Sebastian Coates

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is willing to hear offers for defender Sebastian Coates, after concluding that his main task in the pre-season is to strengthen the team’s defence at both first team and squad level.

Events surrounding Luis Suarez mean he might also have to think about attack, but sources at the club say the priority is to improve on last season’s Premier League finish and the obvious weakness was in defence.

The 22-year-old Uruguayan is popular in the dressing room, but has struggled to win a place in a defence that has already been judged to be insufficient. The rapid signing of Kolo Toure was the first step in the strengthening policy and the same sources say that more strengthening in this area is certain.

Coates made 12 appearances last season and Rodgers has said he will sit down with the defender pre-season “and take it from there.” but the decision has been made that any reasonable offer will be accepted.

Coates joined Liverpool from Nacional in 2011 for a fee believed to be £7 million.

Raheem Stirling Backs Liverpool For Top Four

Raheem Sterling is confident that Brendan Rodgers can steer Liverpool back into the top four next season.

The Reds have been out of the Champions League since 2009-10 but 18-year-old Sterling believes the foundations laid by Rodgers last season mean the club will be back among Europe's elite sooner rather than later.

"We just need to get a good start to the next season and hopefully maintain that, and 100 per cent I think we've got a good chance of finishing in the top four," Sterling told the club's official website.

The Jamaican-born star made his England debut last November in a friendly against Sweden, but injury meant he sat out the end of 2012-13.

His aim for next season is simple, "For me at Liverpool, 100 per cent it's about cementing a starting place in the team, getting a good run of games and hopefully getting some goals for the club, and obviously assists as well," said Sterling.

"If I do that then hopefully I'll get a pick for the England squad."

He also continued to hail Rodgers saying, "I can't talk any more highly of him as a person, not just as a manager," he said of Rodgers.

"He's a top guy. He's one of those who isn't only interested if you're playing well at that moment. He looks at players who are not playing or young players.

"Liverpool should be really grateful they've got a manager like that."