Friday, July 04, 2014

Suarez Set To Complete £80M Move For Barcelona In Next 48 Hours

Barcelona expect to finalize a deal for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez over the next 48 hours.

Talks are ongoing and the Spanish club is concentrating on a straight cash deal for the 27-year-old who Liverpool value at £80million.

Suarez would be allowed to have a medical ahead of a transfer under the terms of his four-month ban for biting, FIFA's disciplinary chief has confirmed.

The Liverpool striker has been banned from all football-related activities including from stadiums, but it will not prevent him moving clubs if a transfer deal is agreed.

Claudio Sulser, the head of FIFA's disciplinary committee, said: 'The player cannot have any activity related to football, but a medical examination for a transfer yes - the sanction is not linked to transfer rights.'

Suarez has appealed against the four-month ban imposed for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

Wednesday's meeting between the two clubs in London was productive and cordial with sensible expectations placed on both sides.

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre met with Barcelona power brokers Raúl Sanllehí, Toni Rossich and Jordi Mestre.

On Tuesday, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta publicly backed the shamed striker, smoothing the way for him to join Barcelona.

'Suarez had the honour to come out and apologize for his actions and now it's time for him to begin the recovery process,' Zubizarreta said at the Nou Camp as new signing Ivan Rakitic was unveiled.

Rakitic also had his say on the controversy, saying: 'To have the character and strength to apologize in front of the world shows what a noble person he is.'

Sanchez Open To Reds Move Despite Arsenal Interest

Alexis Sanchez would be open to a move to Liverpool despite reportedly having reached an agreement with Arsenal after the Reds held “positive” talks with Barcelona over the sale of Luis Suárez, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

In the back rooms at Camp Nou, directors agree that the signing of Suárez is the club’s number one priority and all are keen to ensure that the operation doesn’t turn into the soap opera of the summer.

Barcelona executives have been working to accelerate the operation and met with Liverpool officials in London this morning to try to find common ground in the attempt to bring the Uruguayan striker to Camp Nou.

Sources close to the negotiations have told AS that conversations between the two clubs have been positive and cordial. Another meeting has been agreed, although neither a date nor a place has been set for the second round of negotiations.

Suárez has been requested expressly by coach Luis Enrique and is believed to have a verbal, gentleman’s agreement with the Catalans. Attending Wednesday morning’s meeting were director of football management, Raúl Sanllehí, vice-president of the Sports Area Jordi Mestre i Masdeu and director general Antoni Rossich.

When all three directors are involved at this stage of negotiations, it generally implies that a deal is close – although no details have emerged about how close Barça are to landing the player, nor whether another player will be included as a makeweight in the operation.

Liverpool want to take Sánchez to Anfield but the Chilean is currently on holidays following his participation in the World Cup finals. Sánchez will also know that other clubs have expressed an interest in him and similarly, Pedro Rodríguez who Andoni Zubizarreta warned on Tuesday is “not for sale”.

Sánchez would be open to a move to Anfield, despite that he is rumoured to have a verbal agreement with Arsenal. Liverpool still believes that they can convince him.

Liverpool are willing to match and raise the Gunners’ bid for the player (€25m, according to some sources) but any resulting fee would be lower such Barça and Liverpool agree on a part-exchange.

Liverpool know that Suárez is set to leave, and when he does it will break the hearts of millions of their fans – which is why they are determined that his replacement must be the kind of player who will just as prolific and equally as adored back at Anfield.

Arsenal And Liverpool Battling For Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Arsenal’s efforts to sign Klaas-Jan Huntelaar have taken a dent as Liverpool enter the race.

The Reds are resigned to losing Suarez after productive talks between themselves and Barcelona.

Suarez is banned for four months following his third biting incident and manager Brendan Rodgers has lost patience with the striker.

It means Liverpool, who has already added Rickie Lambert to their attacking options this summer, is scouring Europe for high-quality replacements.

Huntelaar is entering the last year of his contract at Schalke and could be available at a knock-down price.

The 30-year-old showed his class to help rescue The Netherlands in their World Cup last 16 clash with Mexico, providing an assist and converting a vital penalty to win the game deep into injury time.

The Gunners have been interested for a while, but had turned their attentions to Mario Balotelli in recent times.

Whether Schalke will opt to keep hold of Huntelaar until his contract expires remains to be seen.

But with Liverpool set to line their coffers to the tune of around £70m from Suarez's sale, they look likely to be in pole position to win any price war for the striker.

Liverpool Move For Arsenal Target Mario Balotelli

Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo reports that Brendan Rodgers will launch a bid for the AC Milan striker when Suarez's switch to the Nou Camp is finalized.

The Uruguayan looks certain to join the Catalan giants this summer, after Liverpool conceded defeat in their battle to persuade him to stay.

The Reds are hoping to negotiate a fee in the region of £70 to £80m, leaving Rodgers with a bumper transfer war-chest as the Kop boss prepares for a return to Champions League action.

They want Chile star Alexis Sanchez included in any deal, however, recent reports suggest the 25-year-old would rather a move to Arsenal.

The departure of Suarez and non-arrival of Sanchez would leave the Reds light in attack, with just Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini left to battle for a starting spot.

And according to reports, Rodgers will launch a blockbuster bid to land ex-Manchester City man Balotelli, as he looks to add a star name to his frontline.

AC Milan are thought to be open to selling Balotelli this summer, after a mixed spell at the San Siro since joining from City in January 2013.

He was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal earlier this summer, but talk of a deal has cooled after his agent revealed a deal was unlikely.

Newcastle To Rival Liverpool For Man City Outcast

Newcastle is plotting to rival Liverpool for the signature of Manchester City’s Micah Richards, according to reports from Goal.

The 13-time England international looks set to leave the Etihad Stadium in a cut-price deal in the coming weeks, with the Sky Blues having failed to agree a new contract with him.

Richards has just one year to run on his deal, and was seeking assurances regarding his first-team opportunities before committing to his boyhood club.

But Manuel Pellegrini was unwilling to offer him the minutes he craved, which has now opened the door for a knockdown move, with City keen to get some cash for their man.

Newcastle has been alerted by this and is ready to launch an official bid as they plot for the loss of Mathieu Debuchy.

The Magpies’ right-back is said to be in talks with Arsenal, which are likely to result in him moving to north London for around £12m.

Alan Pardew sees Richards as a good replacement, with the powerful 26-year-old able to play on the right side of the backline, or in a central defensive role.

Liverpool has also been linked with him, but the Tynesiders are hopeful that a greater chance of being a guaranteed starter at St James’ Park may give them an advantage over the Reds.

Liverpool Swoop For Kevin Stewart

Sky Sports understands that Liverpool have snapped up former Tottenham defender Kevin Stewart.

The 20-year-old has come through the ranks at White Hart Lane, and has skippered their youth sides.

He made his professional debut last season and has spent time on loan at Crewe Alexandra.

Tottenham decided not to offer him a professional deal, at which point Liverpool have made their move.

Stewart has signed a two-year deal with the Reds, and became a Liverpool player on July 1.

Lallana Overjoyed To Be Joining Liverpool

Adam Lallana said he was "over the moon" to be joining Liverpool after he completed his transfer to Anfield from Southampton in a deal believed to be worth up to £25 million.

Lallana, 26, was Liverpool's top transfer target at the start of the summer, as manager Brendan Rodgers set about strengthening his squad ahead of their return to the Champions League after a four-year absence.

But Liverpool have had to be persistent to push the deal through after seeing two initial bids rejected, with the player undergoing a medical over the weekend.

"I'm over the moon for it to be sorted," said Lallana. "I still can't quite believe it. I just can't wait to get started in pre-season and work with the team.

"I'm so excited for the next chapter of my career, coming to a special club like Liverpool. I'm quite humbled and I just can't wait to get started.

"Liverpool have got so much history and after the season they had last season, I can't wait to get started and carry on and build on that. Champions League football is back; everyone is telling me that the atmosphere on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Anfield are something special.

"I've been granted my wish to play at such a fantastic club, in Champions League football and competing for Premier League titles. I'm so excited for the next chapter of my career, coming to a special club like Liverpool.

The deal sees Lallana follow former Southampton team-mate Rickie Lambert to Anfield and takes Liverpool's summer spending to £40 million. He becomes Rodgers' third signing, joining Lambert and Germany Under-21 midfielder Emre Can at last season's Premier League runners-up.

"Lambert is up here already and he has been telling me all about it," Lallana said.

"It's great that I can continue my career with him as well. That's a special moment.

"I've spent the last four or five years with him. We've had great careers at Southampton and achieved something special, but we're both thoroughly looking forward to the new challenge."

Lallana leaves Southampton after 14 years at the club, having joined them as a 12-year-old from Bournemouth, who hold a 25% sell-on clause.

The midfielder rose to become Southampton club captain, helping them to return to the Premier League in 2012 after a seven-year absence.

His performances for Southampton also caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson and he featured in all three of England's World Cup games in Brazil, coming on as a second-half substitute in the defeats by Italy and Uruguay, and starting in the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.

Lallana insisted he was looking forward to working with Rodgers having been convinced of his talents by his England team-mates.

"From what I have spoken to him, he seems like a top manager. Everyone compliments him massively and gives him great references. All of the lads at England said that if I did get the chance to work with him then it would help my career in huge ways."

Rodgers was full of praise for his new signing, who scored ten goals last season, labeling him one of the "top talents" in the Premier League.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of one of the Premier League's top talents in signing Adam Lallana," Rodgers said. "What is apparent about Adam is that his character is on a par with his talent.

"He is an exceptional young man and someone who has a love for the game - and, most importantly, a desire to progress and improve.

"Adam is motivated by being the best he can be and being part of something special. We believe he fits right in with what we are trying to do at Liverpool.

Liverpool Seal Move For Leverkusen's Can

Liverpool have completed the signing of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can almost a month after announcing that a deal had been agreed in principle.

The Germany under-21 international's move has been finalised after the necessary paperwork was completed, and he revealed that the Merseyside club had been scouting him for some time.

Can has joined for a reported fee of £10 million and becomes Brendan Rodgers' third summer signing after the arrival of Rickie Lambert and midfielder Adam Lallana, both from Southampton.

"I heard that they [Liverpool] had an interest in signing me for a long time - approximately four years," Can told the official Liverpool website.

"We weren't in contact then, but I had it at the back of mind and then it got more and more intense. I was told about the manager's firm interest about four or five months ago.

"It was an easy decision for me to sign with Liverpool as I had a very good chat with the manager, which clearly showed that the club and he wanted to sign me. This was important for me. I can say it was an easy decision for me."

Reina Will Snub Arsenal And Monaco

Pepe Reina is set to reject interest from a host of European clubs to stay at Liverpool next season, his agent has confirmed.

Reina, who spent last season on-loan at Italian club Napoli, had told the media last month that he would not be returning to Merseyside once the deal expired.

However, despite interest from Arsenal, Monaco and PSG, his agent Manuel Garcia Quilon says the goalkeeper will be staying at Anfield after all.

‘I confirm to you that Pepe will play for Liverpool next season,’ Quilon told reporters.

The 31-year-old will now go head-to-head with first-choice Simon Mignolet for the number one jersey next season.

But before his return, he will likely have to apologise to manager Brendan Rodgers, who accused the glovesman of disrespect following comments last season about Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation.