Thursday’s Rumours: Jones deal done, Barca offer Hleb

The new season is just days away and the transfer window closes in under three weeks, it’s a busy time for all involved.

Any takeover at Anfield seems unlikely to go through before the transfer window closes, especially following reports that an impending board meeting was cancelled after no firm bids were put forward for the club. That means Roy Hodgson remains shopping in the bargain basement.

Football - Middlesbrough v Manchester United Barclays Premier League - The Riverside Stadium - 2/5/09..Middlesbrough's Brad Jones Photo via Newscom

Reports suggest a £2m deal for Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones (right) is set to be completed. The 28 year old Australian is expected to move to Liverpool this week and become back-up to Pepe Reina.

Jones qualifies as a homegrown player and so frees up an extra place in Hodgson’s matchday squad.

Another deal that is expected to be completed before Sunday’s opener against Arsenal is that of Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen. The 30 year old is reported to cost around £5.5m from Juventus.

Poulsen will replace Javier Mascherano in the Reds midfield. It now appears Barcelona are interested in signing the Argentinian captain after Inter Milan’s interest cooled following their failure to offload Mario Ballotelli to Man City. And with Barca missing out on signing Cesc Fabregas, and losing Yaya Toure to City earlier in the summer, Mascherano fits the bill for the Catalans.

Alexander HLEB - 03.01.2009 - Barcelone / Real Majorque - 17e journee Liga.Photo : Quinho Photo via Newscom

The Daily Mail reports Barca are prepared to offer former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb (right) as part of deal to take Mascherano to the Nou Camp.

The 29 year old attacking midfielder spent last season on loan to Stuttgart and spent three years with Arsenal from 2005-2008.

Meanwhile, Reds midfielder Nabil El Zhar has told Moroccan media he expects to leave Liverpool before the window closes, with Premier League newboys Blackpool one of many options.