By Chris Rowland.
Another week trawling the murky waters of the world of transfer rumours – a true bottom-feeder’s existence if ever there was one.
Anyway, the first news this week was Eriksen – it’s still on!
Ajax coach Frank de Boer has added weight to Christian Eriksen‘s much-publicised transfer speculation, insisting the attacking midfielder is ready to become a “class player” with the right decisions. Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool have been locking horns over the 21-year-old Denmark international, who has impressed in the Eredivisie this season.
Eriksen had earlier claimed Dortmund were “definitely” an option, and the lure of Champions League football should be the clinching argument. And De Boer added further encouragement, if any were needed, for the player’s suitors, by hailing the Dane’s potential. “If [Eriksen] remains as keen as he is, he can become a class player. I think he can adapt very quickly everywhere.” Insidefutbol.com June 1
Eriksen reveals some interesting preferences in this Sky Sports piece on June 3, not least that he wouldn’t mind the Spanish League, that the German League has caught up with the PL, that he wants to be wanted, that the weather won’t decide his future between England and Germany as they’re equally shite (I paraphrase) and most tellingly, he couldn’t play in a long ball side. Though as neither us nor Dortmund are, that doesn’t really help clarify matters much either:
Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen is considering his future away from the Dutch champions, with a number of European clubs believed to be chasing him.
The 21-year old has attracted interest from a number of European sides in recent months, having been a stand-out figure at the Amsterdam Arena since his first-team breakthrough in 2010. Eriksen could be set to depart this summer and he says that the manager of any potential new club is a key factor to where he will go. Borussia Dortmund are understood to be heading the queue for his services, and he admits coach Jurgen Klopp is a big draw. The Danish international had previously stated his desire to play in La Liga, but he says a move to Spain is no longer his first choice. “That has changed,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind playing in Spain if there was something interesting there for me but I might try a different league first.” Eriksen has been linked with moves to Premier League and Bundesliga clubs, but he says he now has no preference over the two. “They are two very different leagues but they are also very alike. The German league is on its way up where the English league is now. So I won’t prefer one before the other. And it also rains equally much in Germany as it does in England,” said Eriksen, who is said to be high on Liverpool’s wanted list. “The most important thing is to do what I feel is right. My next club has to express that they really want me. “I have to feel that it is the right place and then their style of play has to fit me. I can’t play in a club that prefers to play with long balls.”
Sounds a bit needy, that lad!
More Barca links – David Villa is definitely coming to the Premier League this summer, and Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are all in for the striker, according to the Daily Mirror on June 1.
Spain international Villa has told his advisers he wants a move to England and has now been given the green light by Barca to negotiate a deal. The 31-year-old wants regular first-team football in what will be World Cup year and can leave the Nou Camp for £12million. Arsenal, who were keen on Villa in January, are the only ones of the three Prem heavyweights who can offer him Champions League football next season, but he is no longer top of the Gunners’ striker shopping-list. Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas knows Villa personally and has been in touch. The White Hart Lane club are also offering the best financial package, but their failure to get into the Champions League may cost them.
And the Barca links just keep coming – are we trying to dismantle them and reassemble them piece by piece in Liverpool 4? Good plan!:
Manchester City and Liverpool target Gerard Deulofeu has admitted his time at Barcelona could be coming to an end. The 19-year-old forward has been in scintillating form for the Catalan club’s reserve side in the second tier of Spanish football, scoring 18 goals in 33 appearances. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers keeps a keen eye on any Barca youngsters on the market while City’s player recruitment policy is now headed by former Barcelona bosses Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano. Talksport June 3
Next,a mentioned-in-passing link to what I understand to be a very promising – well; starlet: “Newcastle want to sign Derby starlet Will Hughes and are ready to meet the £10 million valuation”, said Express.co.uk on June 1. “The 18-year-old midfielder has caught the eye of a host of top clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.”
Whilst on the subject of starlets, Crewe apparently have one too, an 18-year-old striker called Max Clayton:
Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis has admitted that “the signs do not look good” for the club keeping hold of starlet Max Clayton, with the striker now having turned down several attempts to persuade him to sign a new contract. The talented product of Crewe’s esteemed youth academy has been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in the past, and there is little doubt that his potential availability will alert numerous suitors. InsideFutbol June 2.
Man Utd are also sniffing in a predatory manner however, according to International Business Times on June 3, and they must be favourites because they signed Nick Powell from Crewe last year!
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Another battle with Arsenal:
Arsenal and Liverpool target Clement Grenier has admitted that he has picked where he will be playing next season, but has refused to comment on where that will be. The Lyon midfielder has made his decision and will reveal his choice at a later date, but it is widely believed that he will join Arsenal. There are still reports that Liverpool have placed a bid in the region of £15million for the 22-year-old, but this has not been confirmed by either side. Grenier was in great form for Lyon last season, helping them claim third place in Ligue 1 and a Champions League place next season, and he scored seven goals and created a further six in a decent season.”Have I made a decision? Yes. More or less. I keep it for myself as I care for my discussions I have had with the president and the coach,” Grenier explained, according to Goal.com, adding, “I just want to say that I’ve never had demands. Moreover, either with the club or with my advisors, figures were never mentioned. My choice is a sporting one.” Arsenal will remain favourites to land the talented youngster, despite the reported bid from Liverpool, because the Gunners have Champions League football next season. Sportsnewsireland.com June 1
Liverpool’s hopes of signing long-term target Christian Atsu have been boosted after he turned down the offer of a new deal with Porto.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has been linked with the highly-rated 21-year-old winger since last summer after being impressed with his performances while on loan at Rio Ave in 2011-12. It seems the Ghana international is ready to move on and test his abilities in a different country, with England his preferred choice. Atsu said: “My dream is to play in England and it is very nice to see my name linked with big clubs in the Premier League. For now, I’m focused on my football, but I see my future in England.” It is being reported that Rodgers could now launch a £7million bid to try and entice Atsu to Anfield ahead of Premier League rivals Tottenham. Clubcall.com June 2
Liverpool have been told they will have to pay £8million to have a chance of signing Seville midfielder Luis Alberto. ClubCall on June 2 said “Barcelona are reported to have first option on the 20-year-old but it is claimed they are setting their sights higher this summer and that could open the door for Liverpool to swoop. However, the transfer fee could be the problem as Liverpool are said to value the midfielder at £5million, while Seville are holding out for closer to £8million. Rodgers is keen to wrap up all of his transfer business as soon as possible and will try and reach a compromise with the La Liga outfit in the coming weeks.”
Portuguese newspaper O Jogo understood that Liverpool have made an official bid for Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori – a story echoed by the Echo on June 6:
Liverpool FC are closing in on the £7.7million signing of Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas with Sporting Lisbon’s Tiago Ilori set to join him at Anfield. The ECHO revealed last week that a fee had been agreed for Aspas with the Spanish outfit and discussions over personal terms have now reached a successful conclusion. There are only a few minor details surrounding the transfer to be ironed out before the 25-year-old is given the go-ahead to fly to Merseyside to undergo a medical. The Reds don’t anticipate any issues and Aspas should be confirmed as Brendan Rodgers’ second summer signing in the next 48 hours. Aspas, who is a product of Celta Vigo’s Academy, is a versatile frontman who can lead the line, play as a second striker or operate in a wide role.
Liverpool are also in negotiations with Sporting as they look to secure the services of young centre-back Ilori. The ECHO understands the Reds have tabled a bid of around £3million for the 20-year-old defender, who is currently on international duty with Portugal at the Toulon Tournament in France. The Reds are increasingly confident they will complete the deal with cash-strapped Sporting willing to do business and Ilori having indicated his desire to join the club. London-born Ilori joined Sporting’s Academy in 2006 and established himself in their first team during the second half of last season. That rise in the 6ft 3ins defender’s profile has increased his price tag but Liverpool still believe it represents a sound investment. Ilori is viewed as one for the future rather than a direct replacement for retiring vice-captain Jamie Carragher.
Tiago Ilori, Sporting Lisbon
As for Aspas, according to the gospel that is Metro, “Liverpool have fended off late interest from Tottenham to agree terms with Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas.” Tell you what Spurs, get your own bloody scouting department and stop piggybacking ours, eh? Aspas is now expected on Merseyside early next week to have his picture taken in his underpants with Dr Zaq and to complete the transfer. That wasn’t Metro, that was me.
Back with our frankly spooky encyclopaedic knowledge of the Portuguese press, and this time it’s newspaper A Bola, who claim that ‘Liverpool are back in for Sporting Lisbon winger Jeffren.
There were heavy rumours during the January transfer window that Liverpool were close to signing Jeffren, formerly of Barcelona, who has failed to impress at Sporting Lisbon. The 25-year-old Spanish attacker played just 13 times, mostly substitute appearances for Sporting during a troubled season for the club. According to A Bola, Liverpool are well aware of Sporting Lisbon’s current financial problems and see Jeffren as a useful player to provide service for the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas next season. Sporting would be keen to sell Jeffren, which may well explain this A Bola article, and could move the former Barcelona starlet on for as little as 3.75 million euros. If Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is keen on Jeffren, he must be confident of being able to bring out the best from a winger who has struggled in recent years. 101 Great Goals June 2
The Guardian (June 3) insist we want Sunderland’s Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, 25, to replace Pepe Reina, should the Spaniard depart this summer. And ESPN understands that:
Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet has emerged as a leading candidate for a move to Liverpool. Liverpool are still considering a number of goalkeeping options with Belgium international Mignolet, 25, understood to be high on their list, ahead of other candidates, including Stoke’s Asmir Begovic and Reading’s Alex McCarthy. At this stage, though, Liverpool have not made an approach for Mignolet, whose impressive form in 2012-13 saw him named Sunderland’s player of the season. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains keen to freshen up his squad over the summer, although speculation linking the club with a move for Reading defender Alex Pearce is wide of the mark [not ‘according to sources’ later on it’s not!].
The Mail on the same day though reckoned Arsenal’s name is more closely linked with ‘the Belgian stopper’ (transfer jargon alert).
Another link with a Belgian:
Liverpool will consider bidding for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. Benteke, 22, is set for further talks over his future once he returns from international duty with Belgium. Atletico, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund are also interested but Villa want him to sign a new deal. Daily Mail/ClubCall June 3
The Daily Mirror on June 4 said “The Reds’ boss has been guaranteed at least £35m to spend in this summer’s transfer window. Rodgers has already agreed in principle a £7million deal for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas and Christian Benteke, whose 19 league goals in his first season with Aston Villa included two against Liverpool at Anfield in December, IS on his list of targets.”
And staying in the Belgian zone, Talksport on June 7 thought “Another Belgian could be coming to the Premier League as Tottenham and Liverpool both chase FC Twente winger Nacer Chadli, 23, who is valued at around £8.5m and wants to play in England. ”
An old rumour from March and April resurfaced with some vigour; it’s our old friend Henry Mac:
Brendan Rodgers is ready to bolster Liverpool’s forward options with a move for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The 24-year-old Armenia international is among several players Rodgers has monitored in recent months as he looks to further progress his Anfield evolution. And now the Liverpool manager is prepared to launch a concerted bid during the summer transfer window to sign Mkhitaryan, who Shakhtar rate in the region of £20m. Mkhitaryan was top scorer in Ukraine’s Premier League this season, his 25 goals in 29 games a record for the competition and helping Shakhtar to win the title by 13 points from runners-up Metalist Kharkiv. Ostensibly a central midfield, he has previously played for Pyunik Yerevan in his homeland and Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine, and helped Shakhtar reach the knockout stages of last season’s Champions League. Mkhitaryan has 10 goals in 36 appearances for his country. Daily Post June 4
The Guardian, Daily Mail, ClubCall and ESPN all joined in. However the Liverpool Echo says it’s far from certain we’ll be signing Henry:
Liverpool FC are interested in Shakhtar Donetsk’s attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan but any potential deal remains a long way off. The Reds would have to offer in excess of £20million if they want to snap up the Armenia international, who scored 25 goals in the Ukrainian Premier League last season.Liverpool have yet to make an approach for Mkhitaryan.
Henry Mac in CL action for Shakhtar Donetsk against Arsenal
Next, it’s the rumour that refuses to die – actually that’s all of them, come to think of it – this from ClubCall on June 5, under the very transfer gossip-esque headline ‘Royals ace linked’:
Newcastle have entered the running to sign Reading defender Alex Pearce. The centre-back is set to leave the Madejski Stadium on a free transfer after refusing to sign a new deal with the Royals and a move to Anfield looked to be a formality. However Newcastle are also keen as doubts continue to surround the future of Fabricio Coloccini, and Alan Pardew hopes to lure the Republic of Ireland international to St James’ Park. Pearce was not a regular in the Reading first-team as they were relegated from the Premier League last season but he is still highly rated and a scrap for his signature looks to be on the cards. Liverpool remain favourites but Newcastle’s interest could give the player food for thought as he weighs up his next move.
Now that Tevez business – “Liverpool are considering an audacious swoop for Manchester City star Carlos Tevez, who could be available to the Reds this summer for as little as £8million, as a replacement for Luis Suarez’, say The Daily Mirror. “The Argentinian ‘is understood to favour waiting until new City boss Manuel Pellegrini takes charge before deciding on his future, so he can find out whether he remains in the club’s plans”, the paper says. Talksport thinks it’s ‘unlikely’ though, and if we’re honest so do we.
Udinese frontman Luis Muriel is a prime target of the Reds, said Goal June 6, but “Liverpool have long admired Tevez, have made two approaches to sign him on loan in recent seasons and are now ready to reignite their interest in the Argentine, who could be available for as little as £7 million. Reports in Italy have suggested that Juventus are in pole position to land the former West Ham forward having already agreed personal terms, while the player has opened the door for a lucrative move to big-spending Ligue 1 sides Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco.”
Another old one resurfaced on Sky Sports on June 6:
Lyon defender Dejan Lovren insists he is not looking to leave the Ligue 1 side in the wake of reported interest from Liverpool. The 23-year old refused to rule out the possibility of a Premier League switch further down the line, but says he has no plans to move on just yet. “Each player wants to join a big club. I am under contract until 2016, but anything can happen. Anyway, I am in no rush to leave Lyon,” he told tportal.hr.
Now a link with a player from the land that gave us Igor Biscan:
Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic has become a target for Liverpool, with Brendan Rodgers according to sources in Spain believed to be lining up a £12.7m bid for the Croatian. Having already sold Jesus Navas to Manchester City for £24m earlier this week, Sevilla are thought to be in financial trouble and may need to balance their books. Despite admitting he is happy, Rakitic said he could leave the La Liga outfit if they don’t spend money on new players in the transfer window. “I have a two year contract and I’m very satisfied and happy at the club although it’s true that situation in general is not attractive,” he told Croatian paper Sportske Novosti. “The club have asked me to say on, they said they wanted to build a new team around me. I told them that I want to see what they have done in terms of signings. “We must build a team which will be better than this season. We will see what happens in the summer.” Daily Express/Talksport June 6
Meanwhile, Wales Online on June 7 reckon newly-promoted Cardiff City have their eyes on Thomas Ince. Along with ourselves, Inter Milan and of course Spurs.
Keepers (3): Mignolet McCarthy Begovic
Central defenders (3) – Ilori Pearce Lovren
Midfield (6) – Eriksen Hughes Grenier Luis Alberto Mkhitaryan Rakitic
Wingers (3) – Atsu Jeffren Robben (Part-ex with Suarez – see below!)
Strikers (7) – Villa Clayton Benteke Delofeu Tevez Luis Muriel Aspas
Just the 22 this week – just over three a day!
Luis Suarez to Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich want Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, 26, and are prepared to offer winger Arjen Robben, 29, as part of a swap deal. (BBC June 5)
Andy Carroll to West Ham
Andy Carroll, 24, wants a pay rise to take his wages to £100,000-a-week to complete his £15.5m move from Liverpool for West Ham. (Daily Mirror June 5)
Dan Agger to Monaco
Liverpool hope to keep Denmark defender Daniel Agger, 28, at Anfield despite interest from big-spending Monaco. (Guardian June 5)
Jonjo Shelvey to Norwich City
Norwich have made an enquiry for Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey but the Reds may want up to £8m for the England Under-21 international. Daily Mail June 7.