The Sunday newspaper’s are full of Liverpool speculation today, with plenty reporting players both leaving and arriving Anfield.
Andrea Dossena (Udinese) Left back: Chris Bascombe writes in the News of the World that “negotiations are at an advanced stage for 26-year-old Udinese left-back Dossena who will cost Â£8m and is set to replace John Arne Riise.”
This follows up on a report by Tony Barrett in Saturday’s Echo which claimed “reports emanating from Italy suggest preliminary talks have already taken place between Reds officials and Dossena’s advisers.”
Dossena made his debut for Italy in Novemeber and is contention for a place in their Euro 2008 squad.
Albert Riera (Espanyol) Left midfielder: Also from Bascombe in the NoTW; “Riera, 26 ‘“ who was on loan at Manchester City two years ago ‘“ also looks Anfield-bound for Â£5m.” Incidentally, Riera has been excluded from Spain’s squad for the Euro’s, with Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres all included from Liverpool.
Any deal for Riera is being made more likely by former Reds coach Paco Herrera’s link and the possible inclusion of Sebastien Leto in any deal.
Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) Left midfielder: And again from Bascombe in the NoTW; “Liverpool will turn their attention to Middlesbrough ace Stewart Downing if they fail to land Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry.
The England winger recently signed a new deal at the Riverside but a Â£12million move from Rafa Benitez would lure him to Merseyside. Downing, 23, is among several players being monitored by Kop boss Benitez as he seeks to improve his squad on the flanks.
Villa skipper Barry remains his No1 target but the Midlanders’ insistence on an Â£18m fee remains the stumbling block.”
Maik Taylor (Birmingham) Goalkeeper: The Daily Mail continue to link the Blues keeper with a move to Anfield as understudy to Pepe Reina, despite Taylor having signed a new deal with Birmingham recently.
David Bentley (Blackburn) Right midfielder: Not today but Saturday’s Independent wrote: “Jermaine Pennant was officially told by Rafael Benitez yesterday that he can leave Liverpool this summer as the club try to organise their resources to muster a serious bid for the Blackburn Rovers winger David Bentley….. Bentley has already turned down a new contract at Blackburn worth between Â£40,000 and Â£50,000 a week ‘“ he has three years on his existing deal. Bentley would cost around Â£15m and is in demand this summer because clubs are eager to recruit young English players in case Fifa push through their quotas proposal that would insist on a certain ratio of homegrown players in every first XI.”
Scott Carson: Fulham are said to be interested in signing the England international goalkeeper, with Aston Villa seemingly unwilling to pay Rafa Benitez’s Â£10m valuation. Earlier this week Carson pleaded with the club to drop their asking price in order to allow him to leave to acheive first team football.
David Martin: The young Reds keeper signed a new deal this week but is expected to be sent out on loan next season.
John Arne Riise: Apparently he will snub a move to Newcastle but “is tempted to revive his career in Germany, Spain or Italy” (Bascombe, NoTW).
Jermaine Pennant: See Bentley report above. “Pennant is a long-term target of Newcastle and Benitez is looking, at the very least, to recoup the Â£6.7m he spent on the player in 2006… Yesterday [Friday], Benitez told Pennant, who has also attracted the interest of West Ham, that he could leave if the club got a price they thought was acceptable.”
Meanwhile, Peter Crouch continues to be linked with Portsmouth with some reports suggesting a possible swap deal with Niko Krancjar.
The TIA Most-Linked-Player-Ometer
1. Phillip Degen
2. Gareth Barry
3. Albert Riera
4. Andrea Dossena
5. Maik Taylor
See also: Rumour Mill