Friday, July 19, 2013

Rodgers Adamant Over Suarez

Brendan Rodgers has warned potential suitors that Luis Suarez will not be going anywhere this summer ‘unless something drastic happens’.

Suarez has left no one in doubt about his desire to leave Anfield but Liverpool have made it abundantly clear that the striker is not for sale by rejecting an offer from Arsenal for the Uruguay international.

While Suarez would be willing to consider a move to another Premier League club, Rodgers is not prepared to sell and fully expects him to remain at Anfield for the foreseeable future.

“Luis Suarez is a wonderful player and he is still very much a Liverpool player,” Suarez told reporters at a press conference in Jakarta.

“No matter who the player is, nobody is bigger than Liverpool Football Club.

“Luis is a very important member of this squad and I am looking forward to working with him again this season after he had such a fantastic season.

“There has been lots of speculation about Luis moving to another club but, as I said, he is very much a Liverpool player.

“We had an offer that was nowhere near what we value him at. He’s one of the top strikers in the world.

“Of course he wants to work and play at the top level. But unless something drastic happens, he will be staying here.

“He has got three years left on his contract. We are looking forward to him helping us get into the Champions League spots.

“That’s a competition we are fighting to get into. The great name and history of Liverpool dictates we should be in that competition.

“It is difficult these days with the finance some clubs have but I believe that we will put up a great fight this season. Let’s hope we can get back to where we belong.”

Liverpool Target Mad Greek Defender

Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers continue their summer of rebuilding with a bid for Greek international Kyriakos Papadopoulos. The Metro believes Anfield chiefs have offered Bundesliga club Schalke 04 £12m for the 21-year-old.

Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, the German club is likely to be unwilling to negotiate at that fee, with reports the Greek has a £19m release clause.

Worse still, Rodgers will have to move fast to sign the man he hopes will replace club veteran and icon Jamie Carragher in the back four, after reports linked Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and Spanish club Atlético Madrid to the versatile defender. And that may not be all. In May, the Liverpool Echo linked Manchester City and Chelsea with the player as well.

Both Bayern and Atlético (and City and Chelsea as well) have the finances needed to match that release clause and all four clubs can offer the player Champions League football, which could help convince Papadopoulos to leave the Royal Blues. The one good news for Rodgers is the defender is understood to prefer a move to the Premier League.

The Greek is contracted to the Veltins-Arena till 2016.

Rodgers has already signed one centre-back in Ivory Coast's Kolo Toure. However, the former Arsenal man, who joins from Manchester City on a free, is 32 years old and cannot be considered a long-term option, which Papadopoulos definitely is.

The Reds' fans should be a little concerned though. For all his talent, Papadopoulos has a growing reputation for a fiery temper. The story of an argument with national team boss Fernando Santos' over his exclusion from the opening game of the country's Euro 2012 campaign is now the stuff of legends.

Philipp Selldorf, a correspondent with Süddeutsche Zeitung, a Munich newspaper, was quoted in a Guardian blog as saying, "Papa was only 18 when he came to Schalke. The supporters love Papa because of his passion. They can see he is always fighting. They admire his bravery but also worry that he might be a little mad. This is something the management also worry about - if Schalke are losing at half-time they find it hard to get through to Papa in the dressing room."

Liverpool Face Serie A Fight Over Midfield Target

Liverpool is in danger of missing out of transfer target Christian Eriksen as AC Milan is trying to hijack the deal.

According to talkSPORT, Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers is keen on the Denmark international and was contemplating a move for him this summer.

The report says Liverpool will have to act fast as AC Milan have shown serious interest in the Ajax starlet, who look set to leave Holland this summer.

Eriksen is approaching the final year of his contract at Ajax and has yet to come to terms with a new one, but has been open about admitting he will listen to offers from abroad.

Liverpool was encouraged last week when Eriksen reportedly turned down an offer to join Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, which intensified speculation that he would be moving to Anfield.

However, this latest report claims Milan’s interest is strong and they have the advantage of being able to offer the 21-year-old Champions League football, while Liverpool are not in Europe this term.

Barcelona Ready To Move For Daniel Agger

Barcelona has reportedly identified Liverpool centre-back Daniel Agger as a key summer acquisition in the Primera Division champions' pursuit of defensive reinforcements.

The Catalan giants are keen to recruit at least one more centre-back before the transfer deadline and, according to El Mundo Deportivo, have placed Agger at the summit of their list of targets.

Eric Abidal's departure and the advancing years of Carles Puyol have led Barcelona to enter the market for a central defender, with Thiago Silva of Paris Saint-Germain the club's initial top choice.

Thiago has, however, maintained his intention to remain at the Parc des Princes, and now Barcelona will reportedly ramp up their bid to bring Agger from Anfield to the Camp Nou.

Agger improved his reputation as a ball-playing centre-back under Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers last season, enjoying arguably his most impressive season during six years on Merseyside.

Liverpool, then, would be loath to allow Agger to leave the club even after Rodgers signed Kolo Toure from Manchester City to provide him with a greater breadth of options at the back.

Agger has made 209 appearances for Liverpool since signing for the Reds from Brondby for a fee of £6 million during the summer transfer window of 2005.

Napoli Turn Their Attentions To Liverpool Goalkeeper

Napoli has turned their attentions to Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina after continued holdups in their attempt to sign QPR’s Julio Cesar.

The Partenopei are keen to improve between the posts this summer and have already wrapped up the signing of highly rated Brazilian shot stopper Rafael from Santos.

With Morgan De Sanctis also reportedly headed for the exit, the Azzurri were said to be close to wrapping up the signing of Julio Cesar from QPR.

Radio Kiss Kiss report that the Brazilian number one is not keen to lower his wages to join Napoli, meaning that the Partenopei have turned their attention to Liverpool’s Pepe Reina as an alternative.

Reina has the same agent as coach Rafa Benitez and new signing Jose Callejon which could facilitate a move to Aurelio De Laurentiis’ club.

Reina has been at Liverpool since 2005 after signing from Spanish outfit Villarreal. He has since gone on to make 394 appearances for the Merseyside club.

Liverpool Defender Open To Loan Move

Liverpool youngster Andre Wisdom has admitted he is prepared to go out on loan if he cannot get first team opportunities at Anfield next season.

Along with Raheem Sterling and Suso, Wisdom was part of a trio of young talents fast tracked into the Liverpool first team by Brendan Rodgers last season, all of whom impressed with the 20-year-old full back making 19 appearances for the first team.

But with Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique ahead of him again in the pecking order and the return of long-term absentee Martin Kelly imminent, first team chances may prove harder to come by for the England Under-21 international.

"The manager has told me to consider it and keep it in mind," Wisdom told Liverpool's official website.

"With us not being in the Europa League, the opportunity of playing every week is going to slim down a bit. Going on loan is an option. I am open to any idea that is positive."

"Last year I made my debut in the Europa League and then in the Premier League. Being in the first team means things have changed massively for me. The competition is a lot harder, the demands are a lot greater. But it is good and I'm enjoying it."

Wisdom signed a new long term contract at Anfield in January of this year suggesting the versatile defender remains firmly in Rodgers' long term vision at the club.

The Leeds-born full back has been linked with a loan move to Fulham in recent weeks, where the youngster could certainly prove to be a helpful addition to Martin Jol's side.

As well as the return of Kelly, who was ruled out in September last year after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, Rodgers is expected to make more additions to his defensive options following the retirement of Jamie Carragher and with the future of Sebastien Coates and Martin Skrtel uncertain.

The club remains linked with Sporting Lisbon starlet Tiago Ilori, while some reports suggest the club is still pursuing the possibility of bringing Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos to Anfield.

Liverpool Miss Out On Atsu

Liverpool has missed out on Christian Atsu after negotiations with Porto broke down, according to reports.

TalkSPORT cite reports in Portuguese newspaper O Jogo when claiming that Brendan Rodgers has been left frustrated in pursuit of the player, after an initial £3.4million bid was rejected for the 21-year-old.

The Reds have held an interest in the 16-cap Ghanaian international for several months, the radio station claims, and were hoping to bring the player to Anfield this summer.

However, the Liverpool boss will now have to look elsewhere, with the report claiming the Merseyside giants are unwilling to increase their offer for the former Rio Ave loanee.

Rodgers has already added attacking talent to the Reds’ squad this summer, with Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas moving to the Premier League from Spain.

Kolo Toure and Simon Mignolet have also been dragged in to improve the Liverpool defence, as the former Swans chief looks to make his mark on the side.

Atsu is not a player who will be joining the influx of new talent though, and may well stay at the Estadio do Dragao this summer.

Alvaro Morata Set For Real Madrid Stay

Liverpool transfer target Alvaro Morata looks set to stay at Real Madrid this summer after declaring he wants to stay at the Bernabeu.

Speaking at a Real Madrid press conference this week, Morata confirmed his intentions to stay in Spain to fight for a place in the first team next season.

Morata has been sparingly used by Madrid in the past couple of seasons following the excellent form of first-team regulars Karim Benzema, Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain.

But with transfer speculation strife regarding the future of Higuain, and a potential transfer to Arsenal, Morata could next season be given more first-team opportunities. Jose Callejon has also left the club, joining Serie A outfit Napoli in recent weeks, lightening the number of strikers further.

Morata featured only 15 times last season under Jose Mourinho, but the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti could mean a change in the squad dynamics next season. And Morata, in the press conference, revealed that he is ready to start the new season playing under Ancelotti.

Speaking to El Mundo Deportivo, Morata said: "I'm training well. Here we train every day as if it was your last. I want to stay at Real Madrid and the coach and club both want me to stay too. I have not had to reject any potential offers because I haven't made any. I am focused on training and working with Real Madrid, and looking forward to the first game."

Morata's defiance here looks set to rule out any potential move to Liverpool, who was keen on adding to Spanish signings Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto.

Liverpool Trumped By Sevilla In Gameiro Chase

Liverpool is set to miss out on PSG striker Kevin Gameiro with Sevilla using the cash from Alvaro Negredo's move to Manchester City to bring the striker to Spain.

Reports in Spain suggest that Liverpool had agreed a deal with PSG to take the French international to Anfield.

But with Sevilla now looking for a replacement for Negredo, and with £20m in their pocket, the Andalusians are now in a position to gazump Liverpool's bid.

Sevilla are reportedly aware of the difficulty of becoming involved in negotiations at this late stage but remain optimistic that a deal can be arrived at that would see Gameiro heading for Spain rather than England.

Gameiro moved to PSG in an 11m euro move in 2011 after scoring 50 goals in 108 games at Lorient.

But the 26-year-old struggled for playing time last season behind the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiele Lavezzi at Parc de Princes.

And Gameiro appears to have fallen further down the pecking order with the £55m arrival of Edinson Cavani.

At the end of last season Gameiro spoke of his willingness to move on from PSG in order to secure playing time saying: "I want to play football every time, I am no different to any player.

"It is difficult to sit on the bench but all big clubs in Europe have the same problems, you can't play every game.

"I always wanted to play abroad. At the end of the season we can decide about my future."

Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund were previously also credited with an interest in the player.

Warrior To Sposnor Grass Roots Football

A new title sponsorship of the Keele International Cup has been secured as Warrior Sports has announced that it will become the title sponsor for 2013, replacing previous main sponsor - Umbro.

Held at Keele University in Staffordshire, over 300 amateur and professional teams from 20 different countries will gather to compete throughout July and August in Britain’s biggest tournament. Teams from nations as far as Nigeria, Columbia and the USA will take part in the event which supports the development of youth, amateur and professional footballers by providing the venue to meet and compete.

Richard Wright, general manager of Warrior Football, says the sponsorship will help the brand further engage with players at a grassroots level.

“We are committed to strengthening our presence in the global football market by aligning ourselves with the best international football clubs, players and tournaments,” he said. “This opportunity to build a grassroots sponsorship program that we can activate throughout our international network will be instrumental in taking the Warrior brand to more football players of all ages.”

David Shepherd, managing director of Euroworld Sports Ltd, the organization behind the Keele Cup says the partnership is a winning fit.

“We have been impressed by Warrior’s international plans to build their football business through club and player endorsements. It’s important for us to work with a sponsor who has an international network that we can become part of. Our new partnership with Warrior will provide us the opportunity for a larger international football community to participate in the tournament each year.”