Rumour Mill: Downing deal off? Xabi doubts

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The transfer speculation is mounting by the day and pretty soon there’ll be a flurry of activity across the headlines of the world linking Liverpool with summer moves for every player under the sun.

Some will be legitimate speculation, and some will be downright lies. Who remembers the claims every summer that Zinedine Zidane was spotted buying houses in Formby, or, more recently, that Thierry Henry was down a pub in West Derby with Rafa Bentez?

We reported yesterday that reports claim Benitez is lining up a swoop for Middlesbrough midfielder Stuart Downing, who looks set to leave the Teeside club whether Boro stay up or not (fate to be decided on Sunday). But now Downing’s exit from the Riverside looks to be in jeopardy as he awaits the results of tests on a foot injury picked up during Boro’s 1-1 at home to Aston Villa at the weekend. The injury could put an end to any hopes he had of joining Liverpool, or Tottenham, also said to be in the race for his signature, this summer.

Meanwhile Spurs are apparently interested in another Liverpool target ‘“ Vila’s Gareth Barry. The Independent says this morning that Harry Redknapp is preparing a big offer to tempt the England international South instead of to Merseyside.

But perhaps the arrival of Barry at Anfield will largely depend on the future of Xabi Alonso (pictured), who’s future on Merseyside has been plunged back into doubt after comments from his agent yesterday.

Despite recently saying Alonso’s future is definitely with Liverpool, it appears as if La Liga giants Real Madrid have expressed a desire (with big money) to snatch the Spanish international from the Reds. Inaki Ibanez put his client’s future back up in the air saying, “Many things could happen in the summe. The first is to finish the season and after that to attend to other matters. Xabi has signed for three more years and his future depends on Liverpool.”

Several reports suggest Benitez could be tempted to give in to an offer for Alonso, with figures like £20million being speculated.

Meanwhile, Croatian left-back Daniel Pranjic of Dutch side Heerenveen claims he has attracted the interest of Liverpool. The 27-year-old looks set to leave Holland this summer.

“I’m 90% sure I will leave. Liverpool are one of the clubs interested in me, and everyone knows I am ready to play in another league,” he said.

And probably the most ridiculous story of the day, in the Daily Mail: ‘œLiverpool have put in an astonishing £50million for Carlos Tevez.’ No they haven’t.

  • Read and discuss more transfer talk in the Rumour Mill
  • To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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