The transfer window officially opens tomorrow and as Liverpool continue to be linked to various players, mostly of an attacking nature, things are beginning to take shape with the announcement of a second new member of the coaching staff and most players returning to training on Monday.
All non-internationals returned to Melwood (18 in total), with those who were in action after the season finished (Gerrard for England etc.) returning next Monday and the Euro 2008 participants returning in three weeks to allow them much required recovery time.
And with Liverpool’s first pre-season friendly just under two weeks away, at Tranmere – a match live on Setanta Sports – fans can already start looking ahead to the new season, which kicks off on August 16th at the Stadium of Light.
The weekend saw Robbie Keane emerge as a transfer target of Rafa Benitez’s – something which has been confirmed by numerous sources on Monday – with a swap deal with Peter Crouch being discussed, although reports suggest Benitez knows that Spurs will not easily let their player of the year, who scored 23 goals last season, leave.
Sunday also saw quotes from Gareth Barry appear in the press where he clearly stated his intentions to leave Aston Villa, something Villa boss Martin O’Neill has responded to be saying “If Liverpool meet our valuation, he will have his express wish to leave Villa Park granted.” That valuation is reportedly Â£18m and something Liverpool are not prepared to pay. Villa seem to have valued Barry on the fee the Reds paid for Javier Mascherano – despite Mascherano being 4 years younger.
The opening of the transfer window will see Phillip Degen officially become a Liverpool player and fellow full back Andrea Dossena’s arrival may finally be officially confirmed. While ex-assistant manager Pako Ayesteran’s contract will officially end after he left the club last November. He will then be free to join a new club.
Ayesteran has been replaced by former coach and player Sammy Lee and another former player, Mauricio Pellegrino, has now been announced as a new member of the coaching staff. “His role will be first-team coach and he will also carry out specialist training sessions,” said Benitez. “He can also work specifically with the defence, and also the reserves.”
Pellegrino had been working as youth coach at Valencia, where he and Benitez worked together as player and coach and where Rafa initially identified him as future coach.