As Euro 2008 heads towards the quarter-final stage, the transfer gossip is hotting up back home with this morning’s back pages noting two exits for Liverpool first team players…
The Independent’s Sam Wallace reports on how Portsmouth will begin the bidding war for striker Peter Crouch this week, with Aston Villa and Newcastle also interested in purchasing the England international.
The bid from Portsmouth, for around Â£10m, should begin the transfer process but it is very unlikely to be the final act.
Manager Rafael Benitez has already placed a Â£15million price tag on Crouch and is reluctant to see the tall centre-forward leave Anfield, despite his inability to push for a regular place in the side since the arrival of Spanish forward Fernandor Torres.
Wallace goes on to hint that Crouch could be part of the ongoing bid Liverpool are preparing to bring midfielder Gareth Barry to Anfield.
Villa would want Crouch as part of the deal for Gareth Barry ‘“ an exchange Benitez has been so far unwilling to sanction. Even then, the personal terms at Villa would have to be right for Crouch, who will not be pushed into a move. In the worst case scenario, he would be prepared to see out his contract and leave on a Bosman free transfer next summer.
Meanwhile this morning’s Daily Mail says left-back John Arne Riise is poised to complete a Â£5million move to Italian giants Roma after a disapointing season at Liverpool.
Riise has found starting opportunities increasingly hard to come by under Benitez and admitted: ‘I need to be playing and to be in a team where I can get better, because I know I can improve,’ he said.
Again the issues of finances at Anfield arise in the Daily Mail’s article on Riise.
Benitez could use the money to step up his pursuit of Gareth Barry after failing with two bids for the Aston Villa midfielder.
Today’s Euro 2008 games see France take on Italy and Holland play Romania. Dirk Kuyt could play for the Dutch, although he is likely to be rested with the Netherlands already through to the quarter-finals as winners as Group C. Both games kick-off at 7.45pm.