Thursday, August 01, 2013

Suarez Wants Deal Done By Friday

Luis Suarez wants his future decided by Friday as the new Premier League season draws nearer, according to reports.

Arsenal is the club most interested in signing the unsettled striker, having already had two bids rejected by Liverpool.

Now it seems the Uruguayan is keen to get a deal decided by the end of the week in order to focus on the start of the new season, SportsDirect News claims.

The article says a source from the club has said: “Luis wants everything done and dusted by next Friday.

“He’s keen to move on, as people know, but he doesn’t want it to turn into a saga. He knows clubs are interested in him and he desperately wants one of them to make an acceptable offer soon.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted that the striker understands the club’s position and the actions they have taken to keep him at the club.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Rodgers said Suarez is happy at Liverpool and is working hard in training despite knowing he cannot take part in the start of the Premier League season.

“It’s a story that can keep running but for me there is no new news,” said Rodgers.

“Luis is happy. He totally understands the club’s point of view.

“He’s in a difficult position in terms of not being able to play because of his suspension. He will sit out the first six games and he will miss playing football.

“But he’s working hard and remains part of the group. He needs to get up to speed and we will continue to work to get all the players ready for the first game of the season.”

Rodgers continues to remain unperturbed by the Suarez speculation and will hope to keep hold of the striker as the club prepares to challenge for the top four places this season.

Suarez Transfer Will Now Cost Arsenal £50m-Plus

Arsenal will have to pay £55million if they still want Luis Suarez, after the striker dropped his pursuit of arbitration as a means of leaving for less.

The Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger had indicated he was ready to dig in and wait to see the outcome of a contract dispute between the striker and Liverpool, after submitting a bid of £40m plus one pound - which was supposed to trigger a release clause.

Yet, in fresh talks early this week with his club, Suarez has finally conceded he will not approach the Premier League to arbitrate - because the contract clearly states the Anfield giants have no obligation to sell him at ANY price.

And with the 26-year-old under contract for another three years, manager Brendan Rodgers and the Reds' board are determined to keep him unless their valuation - thought to be around the £55m Paris Saint-Germain paid Napoli for Edinson Cavani, Suarez's Uruguay strike partner, a fortnight ago - is matched.

A source close to the club’s American owners explained on Tuesday that lawyers have examined Suarez’s contract in detail, and have concluded there is no requirement to sell in the event of a bid topping £40m, merely a commitment to inform the player of any such approach.

“We are 100% confident - there is absolutely no obligation to sell and that is very clear,” the source explained.

“We’ve all examined the clause in detail. All it obliges is good faith negotiations about Luis’s future.”

Wenger’s problems are compounded by the fact Liverpool are determined not to sell to one of their direct rivals for the top-four place they are targeting in the coming season.

And that means Suarez has only three options if he is to get his desire to go to a club engaged in the 2013-14 Champions League - a sentiment he reiterated at a meeting with the club at the start of this week.

Option one would require Wenger to make a bid so massive it would convince Liverpool to sell - and sources within Anfield suggest that figure would have to be well beyond £50m for them to even contemplate doing business with another English club.

Option two is for Suarez to take the drastic action which Carlos Tevez attempted when he tried to force a move away from Manchester City, but the Argentine’s ‘strike’ plan backfired dramatically and he was left to rot in the reserves amid widespread global condemnation.

While Suarez has indicated to Arsenal he is prepared to agitate for a move, he has stopped short of submitting a transfer request.

Nor has he shown any appetite for the extreme course of action he pursued when he eventually engineered a switch to Ajax from fellow Dutch side Groningen.

That leaves his final option, and perhaps the only real prospect now of a route out of Anfield - a bid from a foreign club.

While Liverpool are determined to ensure any English suitors meet their massive valuation, their preferred option, if Suarez does leave, is to see him disappear from the Premier League, and they could be persuaded to reduce the fee for a team from overseas.

Real Madrid is still the striker's preferred option. And even though the Spanish giants are currently consumed with their passionate pursuit of Spurs' Gareth Bale, they have indicated there is some interest in Suarez.

If they can raise sufficient funds, Real could still bid later in the transfer window, and Liverpool would be more inclined to allow that deal to happen - especially if they are given the time to line up a suitable replacement.

Spurs Enter Suarez Battle With Arsenal

Tottenham are reportedly ready to fight fierce rivals Arsenal for the signing of Luis Suarez should Real Madrid pay the world record transfer fee needed to take Bale away from White Hart Lane.

Arsenal has been trying to force Liverpool into selling the Uruguayan striker who wants to leave for Champions League football.

Now it seems Spurs are ready to weigh in with a big bid should Bale’s transfer go ahead, according to the Daily Mail.

Despite reports from Marca on Tuesday that Spurs would make Real pay over £100million for the Welshman, it is widely reported that they will offer £85million instead.

Daniel Levy, Tottenham’s chairman, is known for his hard negotiating and will push the deal as high as possible, the article reports.

If Spurs are to sign Suarez they will have to overcome the fact that he wants to be playing Champions League football, giving Arsenal a distinct advantage in the transfer race.

The Daily Mail reports that Levy had been interested in Suarez whilst he was playing at Ajax and is keen to bring the striker to White Hart Lane and help soften the blow of Bale’s departure.

Liverpool Alerted As Marseille Consider Offers For Ayew

Reported Liverpool target Andre Ayew has been told by Marseille they will consider any incoming offers for him this summer.

The 23-year-old, who has indicated that playing for Liverpool is a childhood dream of his, has previously rejected claims that he wants to leave the Stade Velodrome but may now have a change of heart after being told he will continue to operate on the left hand side of Marseille's midfield rather than his preferred position as a forward in the new season.

A number of clubs across Europe including the Reds and Serie A giants AC Milan have been credited with interest and it would now appear last season's Ligue 1 runners up are ready to negotiate a deal, reportedly looking for a fee in the region of £15m for the Ghanaian international.

"Ayew has informed me of his intentions," Marseille president Vincent Labrune is quoted as saying by Le Sport 10. "If an offer from a big club comes in and we like it, I will investigate it."

Liverpool's lack of European football this season may have proven to be a hindrance in their efforts to strengthen their squad this summer, but they would unlikely to be faced with such difficulties if the club were to make their interest in Ayew formal.

"It's a league (the Premier League) every player dreams about. I speak English, and the English league is the one most followed here in Ghana. It's true that I have a real preference for England" Ayew said, speaking in June.

"I have a little preference for the Reds. I've always followed them ever since I was little, Liverpool, and Real Madrid."

Liverpool have already strengthened their attacking options through the signings of Spanish duo Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto during this transfer window but Brendan Rodgers has indicated he is open to the idea of making further additions to his squad.

"We probably need a bit more support - that extra bit of quality - at the top end of the field and that's something we are looking for," the Liverpool boss said.

"That'll be mixed with needing cover in the left-back position - that's something we're looking at. It's not really about numbers, it's about quality."

The club look set to address one of those concerns in adding Benfica left back Lorenzo Melgarejo to their ranks. Reports have suggested the Reds have all but sealed a season long loan move for the 22-year-old, with an option to sign him permanently next summer on the table.

Schalke Would Consider Liverpool Bid For Papadopoulos

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has admitted the German team would consider a bid for Greek star Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

Recent rumours in Greece has linked the 21-year-old to a sensational move to Anfield this summer, with £13m understood to be the price needed for the deal to work.

The Bundesliga outfit has moved quickly to dispel reports suggesting a move is imminent for Papadopoulos, but falling short of ruling out any future offers.

He said: "We have no offer for Papadopoulos. Neither from Liverpool or some other club.

"On the contrary: we are very happy that 'Papa' is making progress and can be back soon, hopefully. We're planning with him.

"If we receive an offer for him, we will come together and talk about that as we do with every player for us."

Boss Brendan Rodgers is a long-term admirer of the Schalke 04 centre-back, and is seen as an part of his plans to replace Reds stalwart Jamie Carragher.

His long absence for Schalke last term was caused by the need for a knee operation in November to help deal with a persistent injury.

Papadopoulos made just 10 appearances, down from 29 in 2011.

Liverpool To Compete With Dortmund For Forward

Barclays Premier League side Liverpool will face competition in the race for the signature of Rubin Kazan striker Salomon Rondon, according to the Daily Express.

Bundesliga side Dortmund are said to be interested in the Venezuelan, and will contest Liverpool for his services.

Liverpool are preparing themselves for the possible departure of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, and are looking to Rondon to replace their top goal scorer, reports the paper.

The Venezuelan has played 31 times for his national side scoring 11 goals, and has played 4 times in all competitions for Rubin Kazan this season.

Rondon is not the only striker to be linked with replacing Suarez, as the Daily Express suggest that manager Brendon Rodgers is also looking at Luis Muriel to boost Liverpool’s strike force.

Liverpool faces competition on their hands with Dortmund if they decide to pursue Rondon.

The German side is also in the market for a striker as Polish forward Robert Lewandowski is linked with a move away, writes the paper.

According to the Daily Express, Dortmund have enquired about Rondon to Rubin Kazan about the striker’s valuation, and the Russian side are expecting to get the £8.7 million back for the forward.

Liverpool Land Melgarejo Loan Deal

Liverpool have completed the signing of Benfica left-back Lorenzo Melgarejo on a season-long loan, with the possibility of making it a permanent transfer once the loan finishes.

22-year-old Melgarejo will act as competition for Jose Enrique having had a successful first season with Benfica, starting in all 34 of his appearances.

The deal is subject to a work permit, the Express reports, and could be made permanent at the end of his loan period for £8.5million.

Melgarejo played in the Benfica side that lost to Chelsea in the final of the Europa League.

The defender has made one appearance for Paraguay at international level, a 3-1 victory over Guatemala.

Although not expected to start at left-back for Liverpool, he will provide extra cover at defence for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, with the Daily Star reporting on Monday that Napoli are interested in signing Martin Skrtel.

Reina Backtracks On Claims

Pepe Reina has backtracked on claims Liverpool accepted a loan offer from Napoli without his consent, now insisting he holds no ill feeling over the move.

The goalkeeper posted an open letter on his personal website earlier in the week that alleged the Anfield outfit had made arrangements to send him to Italy for the upcoming campaign without discussing matters with him first.

However, Valdes has now moved to clarify his position, maintaining that whilst he believes the situation was not dealt with in an ideal way, he is, in fact, delighted to link up with Rafael Benitez.

"I'm not angry with Liverpool - quite the opposite. I am very grateful to them for everything they have given me," he told Spanish radio program El Larguero on Wednesday. "My departure was different to what I expected, but I will always be grateful to them.

"The signing wasn't sealed, because you can't do that without the consent of the player, but it was at an advanced stage and I didn't know about it.

"This is the nature of football - when you are loved by a team, you really feel it, but when you go through bad moments, you are treated differently. In the end I will remember the love I felt from the fans for so many years.

"My time in England is where I have felt truly like a footballer and I have put my name among the best players. I'm very proud to have played almost 400 games with Liverpool."

Reina went on to note that the presence of former Liverpool manager Benitez at the helm of Napoli has made his unanticipated switch to southern Italy more palatable.

"Rafael Benitez is the best coach I have had. I don't know if I'd have joined Napoli without him being there.

"There are many positive things about the city of Napoli and they have a fervent support, like Liverpool's, but Benitez being there made it much easier for me to sign."

Aspas Ready To Make His Mark At Liverpool

Liverpool’s summer signing Iago Aspas is eager to show the club and the league what he can do when the Premier League kicks off, insisting he will prove to be worth his transfer fee.

The Spanish striker moved from Celta Vigo after scoring 35 league goals in two seasons and is itching to put on the Liverpool shirt to make his mark on the Premier League.

Speaking to the Sun, Aspas admitted pre-season training has been harder than he is used to but he is striving to earn a place in the first eleven for the opening game against Stoke City on 17 August.

"Training has been a little tougher than the sessions in Spain,” said Aspas.

"But I know there is a little more running involved in the Premier League. I'm working hard every day to try and earn my place in the team for the first game."

Aspas also reflected on the fact that he will be wearing the club’s number nine shirt, previously worn by Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush.

"In Spain, they don't attach so much importance to your shirt number as you do here in England.

"But I do know that simply by coming here I have the responsibility to return with interest the money the club has paid for me."

Competition for places is fierce at Liverpool with Brendan Rodgers having made four new signings this summer, adding to Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho who were signed in January.

Liverpool FC Staff Get Insults Guide

Liverpool Football Club staff have been issued with a guide to unacceptable language so they can help eradicate verbal abuse from fans.

The handbook highlights "offensive" phrases including "don't be a woman", "play like a girl" and "that's gay".

The club said they wanted to stamp out slurs against race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and disability.

Player Luis Suarez was found to have racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra during a game last year.

The club was criticized in February by black community groups for a perceived lack of action over the Uruguayan striker's actions.

Liverpool's players receive their own guidance as part of a separate Premier League program.

Antoine Zammit, editor of fans' blog Empire Of The Kop, said overall he thought it was a "good policy" but said he thought it was "excessive" to claim the phrases "man up" and "playing like a girl" were offensive.

He also took issue with "rent boy" being in the guide.

Mr. Zammit said: "Rent boy is just another term for male prostitute; while it could offend the individual it is not really an anti-gay term.

"This term is sometimes used to describe the players whose high salaries and lack of loyalty make them like prostitutes."

Social inclusion officer Rishi Jain said the club had been "actively engaged in an education and awareness program".

"This program includes interactive workshops and a handbook which is designed to provide information on the latest equality legislation, including what terminology is deemed acceptable and unacceptable."

He added it would help staff "take the necessary steps to ensure Anfield is free from all forms of discrimination".

Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, said the guide was a positive step.

He said Liverpool FC had taken "great strides" to tackle discrimination.

"Match-day stewards must be trained on dealing with incidents of discrimination and unacceptable behaviour in order to eradicate it from our stadiums."