Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mignolet Completes Liverpool Move

Liverpool has completed the signing of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Sunderland on a long-term contract.

The Reds agreed a deal with the Black Cats late last week but the 25-year-old only completed a medical at the club’s Melwood training ground on Tuesday.

After passing the medical the Belgium international put pen to paper on a long-term deal that sees him become Liverpool’s fourth signing of the summer.

“I am delighted that we have been able to sign one of the top goalkeepers in the Barclays Premier League,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told the club’s official website.

“Simon will join a club that will give him an opportunity to demonstrate and improve his huge talent.”

Mignolet added: “It’s a big club and when you arrive it’s a big thing. I’m very pleased to be here and I’m looking forward to getting started.

“The first training [session] will be very early and I’ll be happy to be there.

“I think it will be very special the first moment I step onto the pitch.”

Mignolet’s departure leaves Sunderland on the lookout for a new goalkeeper, but manager Paolo Di Canio has assured supporters that he is working hard to strengthen his squad.

“Simon is a fantastic footballer, a fantastic professional and a fantastic lad and I would like to personally thank him for his contribution to the team last season,” he said.

“He was crucial to what we achieved and he goes with the very best wishes of everyone at the club.

“I would like to assure our fans that there is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes. Our aim is to build a competitive squad for the new season and this deal will give us further ability to strengthen the side.”

Liverpool Won't Move On Suarez Price

Liverpool will not let Luis Suarez leave the club this summer for anything less than their asking price, after rumours circled that he had agreed personal terms with Real Madrid.

Marca has reported that the Uruguayan has agreed personal terms with Madrid, but Liverpool will not let him join the club unless they offer £40 million plus for him.

Anfield bosses reacted swiftly to initial claims of an approach by Real by publicly stating Suarez was not for sale and it would be in breach of contract if talks have taken place.

Their stance has not changed, and they are keeping a close eye on developments at the Bernabeu, now Carlo Ancelotti has finally been confirmed as successor to Jose Mourinho.

Suarez has made no secret of his desire to join Madrid, in a series of interviews while on international duty with Uruguay, but he has been left in no doubt that Liverpool will not smooth the way for an untroubled exit.

Luis Suarez Holds Talks With Real Madrid

Luis Suarez has agreed terms with Real Madrid so that his switch to the Bernabeu can be 'fast-tracked' if Liverpool agree a fee with the Spanish giants, according to Marca.

The striker is currently with Uruguay on international duty at the Confederations Cup, but has made it clear during his time away from England that he would like to leave Anfield if the opportunity arose this summer.

Suarez said media intrusion was behind his attempts to bring an end to his Liverpool career, which began when he signed from Ajax in 2011.

Real Madrid is reportedly interested in landing Suarez this summer and the 26-year-old has admitted he would favour a move to Los Blancos.

Now Marca claim that Suarez has agreed personal terms with the Liverpool ace, who is expected to consider his options once Uruguay's participation in the Confederations Cup comes to an end, which could be as early as tomorrow.

Marca also claim that Suarez has offers on the table from other clubs, and that the Liverpool man will consider them if Madrid aren't forthcoming with a serious offer for his services.

The arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid's manager will go some way to clearing up the uncertainty regarding Suarez, as the Italian will likely firm up his transfer plans in the coming weeks.

Madrid would have to offer Liverpool around €47 million in order to activate the release clause in Suarez's contract.

Ancelotti Coy Over Suarez To Real Madrid Talk

Carlo Ancelotti has refused to clarify his position over the pursuit of Liverpool's Luis Suarez - but suggested Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain's future will be decided soon.

Suarez has repeatedly told Liverpool he is seeking to leave the club and has spoken of his desire to play for Madrid.

The Uruguay international has cited the English press as the driving reason behind his desire to leave the country and Madrid are in the market for a striker.

Higuain seems destined to leave and Suarez could come in as a replacement but new manager Ancelotti gave nothing away at his introductory press conference on Wednesday.

"We haven't spoken yet about new signings, because it's my first day here," the former Chelsea manager said. "Today I can not say who goes or who stays. There is no time. In the coming days we will know."

Spurs & Liverpool Look To Snare Barca Starlet On Loan

Tottenham and Liverpool are hoping to sign Barcelona prospect Gerard Deulofeu on a season long loan, according to reports.

Deulofeu is considered as one of the brightest prospects emerging from the Barca youth system and due to the recent acquisition of Brazilian sensation, Neymar, he could leave on loan to gain much needed first team experience.

The Daily Mail believes that both clubs are interested in brining him to the Premier League after scouts of Andre Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers gave the youngster rave reviews.

However, reports from around various other websites have linked the forward to Manchester City, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Valenica, so the race for his temporary signature could really heat up over the next few weeks.

Liverpool To Sacrifice Henderson For Wanyama

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is looking into offloading Jordan Henderson to help fund a move for Celtic's Victor Wanyama.

New reports suggest a deal for the former Sunderland star could be used secure the Kenyan defensive midfielder's signature.

Wanyama, 22, was thought to be close to signing for Southampton in a £12m transfer, having rejected a new Parkhead contract.

But a club spokesperson recently confirmed negotiations are still on-going, revealing: "These negotiations, like any others, are carried out by Celtic in a proper, private and professional manner,"

Wanyama won plaudits for his stellar performance against Barcelona in Celtic's shock Champions League group-stage win last year.

According to The Shields Gazette, manager Rodgers is thought to be ready to sacrifice the England Under-21 star, even though Henderson was a key member of the Anfield outfit last season.

Liverpool has seen a flurry of activity in the transfer market this week, having finalized deals for winger Luis Alberto and forward Iago Aspas.

The club also signed former Manchester City defender Kolo Toure, and secured the services of Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet in deal thought to be worth £9m.

Borussia Dortmund Rival Liverpool Bid For Mkhitaryan

Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin has revealed the Ukrainian giants have placed a temporary asking price on the head of their star man, who has gone AWOL.

Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin has confirmed that Borussia Dortmund have made a €23 million (£19.5m) bid for attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Last week Goal revealed the Armenian is one of Brendan Rodgers' top targets as he plans a £42m summer splurge to bolster his squad for a Champions League charge next season.

Mkhitaryan has contributed to the intrigue himself by failing to show up with the rest of the Shakhtar squad for pre-season training, but until now Shakhtar have insisted the Reds have made no bid for their star man.

In the light of his absence and the interest of Liverpool and Dortmund, however, Palkin has confirmed they have now placed a temporary asking price on his head.

“I don’t know where Mkhitaryan is, now; solely his agent knows this," Palkin told Soccer.

"Borussia offered €23m (£19.5m) for the midfielder. I contacted Mkhitaryan’s agent yesterday. I wrote to him about the official position of the club.

"We are prepared to sell Mkhitaryan for €30m (£25m); this offer stands for the next 10 days. If Mkhitaryan wishes to leave, they have to pay this amount for him.

"€30m, one installment. If there is a club that can pay that amount, we are ready to make a deal."

Liverpool Frustrated In Attempts To Sign Tiago Llori

Liverpool’s interest in the Sporting Lisbon’s classy central defender Tiago Llori has hit a hitch which may severely hinder any attempts to sign him as a reinforcement for central defence.

Lisbon are currently unwilling to consider negotiating over more than 20 players who share the same representatives as their prized young forward Bruma – a talent linked to a number of Premier League clubs - because of problems in getting support in signing up the 18-year-old to a new contract.

Llori, who is a fast, tall defender with a big reputation in Portugal, is one of that group of players and the club’s general resistance to selling him explains why a figure of €20m (£16.9m) has been quoted – way beyond his realistic value. Liverpool does have an interest in the player and Sporting’s hand may be forced by their urgent need of money from the transfer market this summer.

Sources in Portugal have suggested that Liverpool have offered €3.5m net (£2.9m) for the 20-year-old, who was born in London though who has played all of his youth football in Portugal, with the last seven years in Sporting’s youth ranks.

The club remains some way off signing Shakhtar Donetsk’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan – for whom the Anfield club expects substantial competition from other European clubs. Shakhtar said Mkhitaryan had not turned up for pre-season training and insisted that he do so. “He did not come to the training session yesterday but he had to - we do not know why," Shakhtar's chief executive Sergei Palkin told Russian paper Sportsdaily.

Aston Villa Run Eye Over Downing

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is said to be mulling a £6 million bid for Liverpool’s Stewart Downing, as the club seeks to add experience to a talented but young team.

Villa was almost relegated last season and the manager is determined to bring in an older head to help both on the playing side and in the dressing room.

Lambert has a number of possibilities including another former Villa player Gareth Barry who is currently in contract extension talks with Manchester City.

Since leaving Villa for Liverpool for £20 million, Downing, 29, has had a wretched time and although Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has not given up on the player, club sources suggest that if the right bid came along he would be allowed to leave. Downing himself is keen to stay and fight for his place.

The biggest stumbling block to any move would be the player’s £70,000 a-week wages, though a low transfer fee could mitigate that.

Shakhtar: No Mkhitaryan Talks

Shakhtar Donetsk admits they are unsure of Henrikh Mkhitaryan's whereabouts, but insist they have had no contact with Liverpool.

The Armenia international is reported to figure prominently on Brendan Rodgers' wish list, as he attempts to bring goals and creativity into Anfield.

It was suggested that an agreement was close and that Mkhitaryan was on his way to England to discuss a deal.

The 24-year-old playmaker was quick to play down those rumours, insisting he was enjoying a well-earned summer break, and Shakhtar maintain that they have received no approach.

The Ukrainian outfit has, however, revealed that Mkhitaryan is yet to report back for pre-season training - fanning the transfer flames.

Shakhtar's general manager Sergey Palkin said: "Mkhitaryan has not appeared for training. We do not know if he will arrive in the near future. He will be fined."

On the ongoing move talk, Palkin added: "He has not had any contact with Liverpool. I am confident that reports of negotiations are just rumours. Liverpool has not made an enquiry about the player.

"We have not heard that Mkhitaryan wants to leave. All questions about his behaviour need to be addressed to him."

Plans Unveiled For New Anfield

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has backed the £260m regeneration plan for the area surrounding Anfield, which includes the club's stadium's redevelopment proposals.

A consortium, led by Liverpool City Council with support from Your Housing Group and the club, has unveiled a vision to include new housing, shopping facilities, public space, office buildings, a hotel and development of Stanley Park.

Liverpool are still in the process of buying up the properties surrounding Anfield in order to push ahead with their stadium redevelopment, but Ayre told the club's official website "The unveiling of this vision for the wider regeneration of the Anfield area is another important step towards transforming the area for the better.

"The club has a track record of working successfully with LCC and others to drive forward improvements to the area, having made a major investment towards the transformation of Stanley Park.

"We are looking forward to working with the partnership and playing a part in the development of the regeneration vision and we strongly encourage local residents, businesses and community groups to get involved in the process and have their say.

"This is also an important milestone as we seek to investigate the feasibility of expanding our stadium.

"We will continue this work, which is just one part of the wider Anfield vision, and there is a great deal of work still to be done to bring those plans to fruition.

"We have always said that any stadium expansion will be subject to detailed economic and social feasibility studies and the community and home owners' support, which includes our ability to purchase the land for the proposed expansion.

"Any expansion is also subject to the club being able to navigate the planning landscape and we are pleased to say that very positive progress is being made."