Friday, June 21, 2013

Liverpool On Verge Of Sealing Deal For Brazilian Hotshot

Liverpool are said to be interested in making an audacious swoop for up-and-coming young Gremio star Matheus Betancourt da Silva this summer, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.

The Merseyside giants have reportedly been keeping close tabs on the Brazilian, who is aged just 17, for some time now.

However, with rules in the South American country preventing players from being transferred until they reach the age of 18, the Reds have so far held back from making any official move for the highly rated star.

That, though, is set to change with Betancourt da Silva, whose shorter name is Matheus Biteco, turning 18 years old on June 28, which is when Liverpool head coach Brendan Rodgers is said to be making his move for the player so that the Reds can get their man before other competitors also become interested in him.

Biteco came to Rodgers and Co’s attention after turning in a series of man-of-the-match displays for his country at the well-known and highly respected Toulon tournament, which his Brazil team went on to win earlier this year.

And despite the fact that Biteco has still to appear for his club in a single national championship fixture, he has played for Gremio in a number of state championship contests where he reportedly also caught the eye.

The Merseyside giants enjoy a close working relationship with his club after buying Brazil international Luca Leiva from the Porto Alegre team for £5 million in July 2007, and so they expect negotiations, which have already begun between the two sides, to be concluded swiftly and without any major complications either.

Liverpool And Chelsea Set To Reignite Interest In Benfica Star

Fenerbahce's move for Oscar Cardozo has broken down - and that could open the door for Liverpool and Chelsea to reignite their interest in the Benfica star.

The Paraguayan's future in Lisbon is in doubt after Benfica's dramatic end-of-season collapse and Fenerbahce have been leading the chase to sign him.

But the Turkish side's president Aziz Yildirim has revealed that a deal has hit a hitch over Benfica's refusal to sanction any offers lower than £14.5m.

"Let's see if we can find a club that will pay £14.5m," he told Record.

"Wait until the first week of July. Cardozo is a great player, but we have to consider the interests of the club, and see if there is a club who will pay £14.5m for a 30-year-old."

Cardozo's availability could pique the interest of several Premier League clubs.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could be forced to sign a replacement for wantaway Uruguayan Luis Suarez, while Jose Mourinho is also on the hunt for a new forward with Fernando Torres tipped to depart Stamford Bridge this summer.

Liverpool In Advanced Talks To Buy Christian Atsu

Liverpool's extensive summer recruitment program is increasingly likely to include a cut-price transfer for Porto's Ghanaian international Christian Atsu after a significant breakthrough in negotiations.

The two clubs are in advanced talks and Liverpool are moving in on a deal that would see the 21-year-old winger sign for as little as £3m, on the basis that his contract expires next summer and he has already made it clear that he will not be signing another one.

Atsu, a quick, talented but sometimes erratic winger, was brought into the Porto first-team squad during André Villas-Boas's time at the club and is seen by the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, as a player who can offer his team more width and penetration in attack.

While Liverpool's summer is likely to be dominated by Luis Suárez's efforts to move abroad, the Anfield club has provisionally agreed a £7.6m deal for the Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas as well as signing Kolo Touré as a free agent and putting in place a possible deal for Shakhtar Donetsk's £22m-rated midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Simon Mignolet, the Sunderland goalkeeper, is another target as Pepe Reina contemplates his future on Merseyside, and Atsu's signing would inevitably raise more questions about Stewart Downing's position at the club.

Liverpool To Win Kane Race

Sky Sports understands that Liverpool have won the race to sign Bristol City's highly-rated teenager Herbie Kane.

The 14-year old will be the second youngster to exit Ashton Gate in the space of a week after the Robins lost Kane's team-mate Jacob Maddox to Chelsea.

A host of Premier League clubs were believed to have been chasing Kane's signature but he has opted for a move to Anfield.

Kane has already been tipped for international honours and, similar to Maddox, he had been promoted to City's under-18s team at the age of 14.

He is regarded as one of the best young prospects in the country and has been likened to current Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in terms of his playing style.

The League One side will be due compensation for Kane's exit.

Liverpool Want Real Madrid Starlet In Part Exchange For Suarez

Liverpool will demand coveted Real Madrid front man Alvaro Morata in part exchange for unsettled attacker Luis Suarez this summer, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.

The controversial Uruguay international is expected to leave Anfield for the Spanish giants in a deal worth a reported £40 million when the transfer window reopens for business on July 1.

However, Reds head coach Brendan Rodgers is said to be determined to bring in a top-level attacker from the Santiago Bernabeu in return, with the Northern Irishman understood to have already identified the Spain Under-21 international as his number-one choice.

The 20-year-old finished the recent European U21 Championship in Israel as the tournament’s top scorer with four goals as his nation retained their title following a convincing 4-2 win over Israel in Jerusalem on Tuesday night.

And with the forward having made only 18 appearances in all competitions for los Blancos since making his Madrid first-team debut in the 2010-11 campaign, Rodgers is believed to be confident of being able to persuade the player to swap Madrid for Liverpool this summer.

Luis Alberto To Have Medical At Liverpool

Sevilla's Luis Alberto will have a medical at Liverpool on Friday after a £6.8million deal was agreed between the two clubs.

The 20-year-old, who will sign on a four-year deal, has been on loan at Barcelona B and had expected to stay at Sevilla, but the cash-strapped club has had to let the striker leave.

Barcelona decided not to take up their option to sign him permanently at the end of his loan stint, and Alberto could be Liverpool's second striker signing of the summer after a deal was agreed for Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo.

The signing puts doubt over the future of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who has hinted he may leave the club this summer.

The news comes a day after Sevilla sporting director Monchi said Liverpool’s initial offer for Alberto not quite good enough - but the Merseysiders have struck a deal.

Alberto has played once for Spain's U21 side, and scored 11 goals in 38 appearances for Barcelona B last season.

He scored 25 goals in 77 games for Sevilla B between 2009 and 2012, and has played just seven La Liga games for the club.

Napoli Join Race For Luis Suarez

Napoli is set to go toe-to-toe with Real Madrid for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

The Italian outfit, who finished runners-up to Juventus in Serie A, are resigned to the fact that £50m man Edinson Cavani will leave the club.

But their new manager Rafa Benitez - the ex-Liverpool boss - wants to raid Anfield for his replacement.

Suarez has admitted he would be interested in a move away from England because of the unfair treatment he claims he's getting from the British press.

He's gone on record as saying a move to Real Madrid is "one of the highest ambitions for any footballer" and it appeared they were the only real option for the Uruguayan.

But Napoli has emerged from nowhere and their interest could even bump up the price Real have to pay, if Liverpool does decide to sell.

Manchester City and Chelsea were both interested in Cavani but Madrid are the front-runners to sign him.

However, that won't mean their transfer business is done.

They're flogging Gonzalo Higuain to Arsenal and a move for Gareth Bale is still in the balance.

Napoli Priced Out Of Move For Liverpool Defender

Martin Skrtel could be out of Napoli's price range, according to the Liverpool defender's agent.

Karol Csonto, the Slovakia star's representative, revealed last week that his client had quizzed international team-mate Marek Hamsik about the Serie A club.

The centre-back endured a miserable campaign at Anfield last term despite being named the club's player of the year in 2011/12, and he could make way for new recruits this summer.

Skrtel has been heavily linked with a move to Napoli due to their recent appointment of Rafa Benitez, who brought the 28-year-old to Anfield from Zenit St Petersburg in 2008.

But Csonto feels a reunion with the Spaniard is increasingly unlikely due to financial reasons.

He told TuttoMercatoWeb: "Please note that Skrtel has never said he is willing to leave Liverpool.

"But it depends on the transfer market work that Liverpool will do because everything can change accordingly.

"Certainly the last two seasons have been difficult but in football it can happen. I do not think that Napoli have the financial means to sign him."

Andy Carroll Moves To West Ham United

West Ham has confirmed the signing of England striker Andy Carroll from Liverpool for an undisclosed club-record fee believed to be around £15 million.

The 24-year-old, who has scored twice in his nine international appearances, passed a medical at Upton Park and is understood to have inked a six-year deal to the tune of £100,000-a-week deal, meaning the deal will eventually cost the Hammers in the region of £50 million.

Carroll spent last season on loan at the Boleyn Ground, scoring seven times in 24 league appearances in a campaign which was dogged by injury.

"It's fantastic for me to be here," he said on West Ham's website. "I really enjoyed last season, and that shows in me coming back and making it permanent.

"Since the end of the season I've had a lot of time to think, I've missed it and that's why I'm back."

The club described Carroll as their "marquee signing" who "represents a significant step for the club".

Liverpool sold Carroll at a significant loss, having bought him from Newcastle for a British-record £35 million on transfer deadline day in January 2011.

He never really fitted in at Anfield despite the best attempts of Kenny Dalglish, the manager who signed him.

Carroll scored 11 times in 58 appearances, but when Dalglish was replaced by Brendan Rodgers last summer it became apparent his chances of regular first-team football would be minimal.

A deal to loan him to West Ham was secured the penultimate day of the transfer window and despite some encouraging performances for the Londoners – which earned him an England recall – it was made clear to the striker Rodgers had not changed his view of him.

"Everybody at Liverpool FC would like to wish Andy all the best for the future," said a statement on Liverpool's website.

Carroll finished last season with a heel injury, which ruled him out of the national team's friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil and could keep him out of the new campaign, which the Hammers start at home to promoted Championship winners Cardiff.

Liverpool Defender A Surprise Loan Target For Fulham

Fulham are chasing versatile Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom, 20, in an effort to boost the defensive options available to boss Martin Jol next season.

The England under-21 international youngster showed his potential last season after racking up a handful of appearances as cover at right back, but Wisdom is more comfortable at centre half.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to allow Wisdom to leave on a temporary basis, in order to gain more first team experience but a permanent deal is off the table with the Merseysiders seeing the youngster as one for the future.

Wisdom has recently signed a long-term contract at Anfield but a full season of Premier League experience at Craven Cottage would undoubtedly aid the progression of the young starlet to a greater extent than bench-warming at Anfield.

According to reports in the Mirror, Fulham are keen to push through a loan deal as soon as possible in order to allow Chris Baird, who has been linked with West Brom, to leave the club; however Rodgers would prefer to have Wisdom available for pre-season fixtures.

Reina Expects Liverpool Stay

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has declared himself happy at Anfield and does not expect to leave the Premier League club this summer.

Speculation over Reina's future has been circulating for most of the past season and intensified when Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes announced he would not be signing a new contract when his current deal expires next year.

But Valdes, linked with big-spending French side Monaco, has stated he intends to see out his remaining 12 months at the Nou Camp, and that puts any potential move for Reina in doubt.

The 30-year-old has left the door open to an Anfield exit but said he intends to stay.

"My situation is clear. I have a three-year contract with Liverpool, although in football you can never tell," he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

"I'm very happy and satisfied at Liverpool, I feel valued and respected.

"Logically, if there was a chance to improve and go to a bigger club it would be a good opportunity, although there are few clubs bigger than Liverpool."

In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Confidencial Reina added: "In principle my plan is to continue with Liverpool.

"I have three years left on my contract and I want to fulfil that and even go further."

Asked whether he thought his time in the Premier League had come to an end Reina, currently on international duty at the Confederations Cup in Brazil, replied: "I don't think so. Nor do I think that is a possibility.

"The best option for my family is for me to stick with Liverpool."

Liverpool has already begun looking for a replacement for Reina, one of the highest earners on their wage bill, and has identified Sunderland's Belgium international Simon Mignolet as the primary candidate.

Negotiations have taken place with the Black Cats, although a fee has yet to be agreed, but it remains to be seen whether the Reds will sign Mignolet - manager Brendan Rodgers has priorities in other areas - irrespective of whether a deal has been done or not with Barcelona for Reina.

Liverpool Pleased With Gerrard Progress

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has returned to training as he takes the next step towards recovering from shoulder surgery.

Gerrard, 33, missed the final two games of his side's 2012-13 Premier League campaign after an operation in May, with the midfielder having been troubled by his shoulder for several months.

He was forced to sit out England's end-of-season friendlies against Ireland and Brazil, amid reports - later dismissed by Liverpool - that he was in danger of missing the start of next season.

The Reds have indicated that their medical team is satisfied with Gerrard's progress since his operation, and the England captain is on course to play a full part for both club and country when the 2013-14 campaign kicks off.

In addition to his club commitments, Gerrard is set to play a key part in the Three Lions' World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September.

The midfielder has returned to Liverpool's Melwood training ground two weeks ahead of his team-mates, who are due to report for the start of their pre-season program in early July.

He expects to be ready to play a part in the club's opening pre-season friendly at Preston on July 13, ahead of a three-match tour of the Far East and Australia, and his testimonial against Olympiakos at Anfield on August 3.