Saturday, June 15, 2013

Liverpool Optimistic About Signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Liverpool is increasingly optimistic about signing Shakhtar Donetsk's £22m-rated midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan while uncertainty continues over the futures of Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll.

Brendan Rodgers has made the Armenian international a prime target as he seeks to inject "an extra 20 goals" into his team next season, having already agreed a £7.6m deal for the Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas.

Shakhtar's chief executive, Sergey Palkin, said last weekend that there had been no official contact with Liverpool about Mkhitaryan, 24, who scored a record 25 goals in the Ukrainian premier league last season, but an approach is believed to have been made and Anfield officials are hopeful about concluding the signing.

Carroll's reluctance to accept a £15m move to West Ham has had an impact on Liverpool's immediate transfer plans while Suárez has not handed in a transfer request despite his frequent claims of discontent with life in England. But Liverpool is nevertheless proceeding with the pursuit of the coveted Mkhitaryan.

Liverpool Linked With Galatasaray's Nordin Amrabat

Liverpool have been linked with Galatasaray winger Nordin Amrabat following recent comments by the players agent Barry Thomas.

"We're aware of the interest from the Premier League," Thomas told Sky Sports.

"But he's contracted to Galatasaray and although tighter restrictions on foreign players in the Turkish league mean he could be available, his future very much depends on Galatasaray."

Despite Amrabat being happy at Galatasaray, the Lions are facing pressure as competition for foreign spaces increase.

The Turkish Football Federation only permits six foreign players on the field at any one time and the Istanbul based club currently has eight non-Turkish players on their books.

The Reds have been scouting Galatasaray throughout the season and have kept tabs on Amrabat, Semih Kaya, Burak Yilmaz and Selçuk İnan.

Liverpool have been linked with a number of wingers including Christian Atsu, Luis Alberto and Nacer Chadli as Brendan Rodgers looks to boost Liverpool's attacking options for the beginning of next season.

Amrabat joined Galatasaray from Kayserispor for €8.6 million last season and has four years left on his contract.

The 26-year-old Moroccan international scored once and provided 10 assists in 43 games last season including three assists in 10 Champions League appearances.

Reds And Palace Eye Chelsea Youngster

Liverpool FC are being linked with a loan move for Brazilian forward Lucas Piazon.

The 19-year-old signed for Chelsea from Sao Paulo in 2011 but has made just one Premier League appearance for the Stamford Bridge side, missing a penalty against Aston Villa in his team's 8-0 win.

He was on loan at Malaga in the second half of last season and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping that his past alliance with Jose Mourinho will enable him to do business.

Iago Aspas Move Blocked By Spanish Football Federation

Liverpool’s signing of Iago Aspas is being blocked by the Spanish Football Federation in a legal row over the player’s representation.

And according to emails seen by MirrorSport, Kop managing director Ian Ayre continued to negotiate with unauthorized agents over the deal even after discovering that he was not dealing with the player’s official FIFA-licensed representatives.

Aspas has a representation agreement with Jorge Santome and Carmelo Vicente until 2014, but attempted to force through a move to Anfield by enlisting the help of Barcelona-based agency PromoEsport.

As exclusively reported by the Daily Mirror last week, wrangling over the deal was holding up the finalization of the transfer, and Celta Vigo and the Spanish Federation are now so furious at the conduct of Ayre, Liverpool and PromoEsport that they are refusing to release Aspas’ International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

This means that although the 25-year-old could be presented as a Reds player and even train with the side, while the RFEF refuse to release the ITC the player cannot feature in any official matches for the Reds.

Santome and Vicente are now taking action against PromoEsport through the Spanish Federation, backed by Celta Vigo and several other La Liga clubs who are angry with PromoEsport’s conduct.

The agency, which on their website claims to represent another Liverpool target, Barcelona’s Luis Alberto, is banned from the Celta training ground and used the player’s brother to present the offer to the Galician club in order to hide their involvement.
A Liverpool spokesman said: “There was a complication with the paperwork. For the deal to be completed both FAs have to release the paperwork and we are waiting for that to happen. However, we are confident that will be done shortly.”

Iago Aspas Insists He's No Suarez Replacement

Liverpool’s new signing Iago Aspas insists he wants to play alongside Luis Suarez.

With the future of the Uruguayan unclear after he declared he wanted to leave Anfield, the £7m spent on 25-year-old striker Aspas was seen as good business should Suarez decide to leave.

But Aspas has stressed that he is coming to Liverpool to strengthen the side, not as a replacement.

“I am excited to be going to England,” he said in the Mirror. “I want to play in the Premier League. And I hope I will be helped to settle there by all the Spanish speakers at the club, including Luis Suarez.

“Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am going there to take an important step in my career, not to be a replacement for anyone.

“I think it is time for me to take the next step in my career and Liverpool can help me do that. I have confidence in my ability to move forward and to grow as a player.

“I described the move as emotional for me because it is such a big club and it means I’ve reached another level. But I am calm because I feel I am ready. I want to show that I am capable of playing at the level of this huge club.”

Suarez Not Thinking About Leaving

Wantaway striker Luis Suarez says all is focus is on his country for now.

The 26-year-old has spoken of his desire to leave Merseyside to go somewhere where he is more valued.

He is currently at the Confederations Cup and good displays there could entice clubs to come in for him, but he insists that is not his main aim.

"I've come to the Confederations Cup with my mind on Uruguay and not thinking about how it can help me with a transfer,” he told Skysports.

“My only goal is to win the trophy.”

Suarez is currently serving a ten-match domestic ban in England for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, and he added:

"I have done things wrong, but I have recognized my mistakes and apologized. Obviously I would love to be valued more for my performances and not for one-off incidents.

"For example, I am proud to be just one goal away from drawing level with my country's top goalscorer, (Diego) Forlan, and long may he continue to hold that record. If I do break it, I will be humble in my celebrations."

Lucas: Suarez Exit Would Be A Great Loss

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva admits it would be a "great loss" if Luis Suarez left Anfield this summer.

The Uruguay international has publicly expressed his desire to quit the Premier League after suggesting negative press coverage surrounding his controversies has had an impact on his private life.

Suarez, who scored 30 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season, also claimed it would be a "dream" to secure a move to Real Madrid.

"Luis Suarez has influenced many matches for us, and is a player, if he leaves, who would be a great loss," Lucas told Radio Grenal.

The Brazil international insists he is content with his own future at Liverpool but concedes Brendan Rodgers' side will not be considered favourites to win the Premier League title next season.

"It's been six years and I am very happy at Liverpool," he continued.

"If I fulfil my contract until the end, would be 11 years at Liverpool. Here in Europe I feel more complete than when I arrived at the club. I have evolved a lot with the coaches who have passed through here.

"The favourites to win the Premier League title are [Manchester] City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal and even Tottenham."

Arsenal May Renew Interest In Reina

With the summer transfer window set to open, there is plenty of gossip doing the rounds in the newspapers so we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest transfer rumours. Today, Arsenal may turn to Pepe Reina after Victor Valdes confirmed he won’t leave Barca this summer.

Arsenal may renew their interest in Liverpool’s Pepe Reina after Victor Valdes confirmed he intends to see out the remaining year of his contract with Barcelona, according to the Daily Mail.

The Spanish goalkeeper has been at the Nou Camp his entire professional career but looked set to end his association with the Catalans after revealing he won’t be renewing his contract – which expires in 12 months time.

The Mail claim Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for the 31-year-old with boss Arsene Wenger understood to be on the look-out for an experienced stopper to push Wojciech Szczesny for the number one jersey at the Emirates Stadium next season.

However, the Gunners will have to wait another year if they want to land Valdes after Barcelona President Sandro Rosell confirmed the keeper had informed the club he will stay and see out the last year of his contract.

If Wenger is intent on bringing in a new keeper this summer he will now have to go for other targets with the Mail suggesting Liverpool’s Pepe Reina and Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet could now be on his radar. The Gunners have been strongly linked with a move for the Spaniard in the past and the report claims the north Londoners may renew their interest following the news on Valdes’ decision to remain in Spain for another season.

Mignolet is thought to be keen for a move this summer to boost his chances of playing for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup and could be available for around £8m according to the newspaper, but ironically Liverpool are also in the hunt for the 25-year-old so it will be interesting to see how this goalkeeper merry-go-round pans out over the coming weeks.

Final West Ham Talks With Andy Carroll Set

West Ham co-owner David Gold has promised two major signings up front as final talks with Andy Carroll move closer.

The on-loan Liverpool player is due back from holiday and will hold talks next week with a view to finalizing a £15.5million deal.

And Gold, confident the deal is going to happen, reassured his Twitter followers they would be signing a top-notch name to play alongside him.

“Yes, we will,” he tweeted. “We must bring in two quality strikers.”