Victor Valdes’ agent, Gines Carvajal, is set to fly in to meet Anfield officials to try to finalise the goalkeepers’ free transfer to Liverpool next week.
EXCLUSIVE BY ALEX MILLER
Sources close to the deal believe Carvajal will meet Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre in an attempt to complete a deal that would provide current number one Simon Mignolet with some serious competition between the sticks.
Mignolet has come in for some heavy criticism recently and while ignoring the likes of Gary Neville may come easy to Liverpool fans, when it comes from club legends such as Jamie Carragher, it should make fans sit up and take notice.
It’s thought that Liverpool will look for security on any Valdes deal by insisting the contract offer is a short-term, but including an option to extend once the 32-year-old keeper has proved his fitness and form, after being sidelined with an ACL injury since March.
Valdes is understood to be very eager to join the club and there are even suggestions he may be willing to take a pay cut on the £90,000 a week salary he enjoyed at Barcelona.
Sources suggest a deal has already been agreed in principle following constructive talks over the last few weeks, despite several reports suggesting that talks had collapsed.
Pepe Reina’s form dipped in his last couple of seasons at Anfield, but the club were also eager to remove the Spaniard’s £100,000 a week wages from the payroll. That is why the offer to Valdes will make fascinating reading.
Liverpool are also thought to be keen to stagger any signing on fees over the length of the contract rather than paying Valdes everything upfront. The negotiation around that payment structure could still prove complicated.
Liverpool are still not convinced Valdes is ready to take a medical yet and the deal depends on his recovery. Carvajal is flying in to sort out the official documents, but it could be another few weeks before Valdes is fit for a club medical.
While a deal does appear to be inching closer, nothing is ever certain until the paperwork has been signed off and an official announcement has been made. Until then, it is worth noting that Liverpool are likely to have alternative options for the January transfer window. Petr Cech, Iker Casillas and Espanyol’s Kiko Casilla have all been linked recently.
Meanwhile, sources with close links to Liverpool also suggest Glen Johnson will definitely not be offered a new contract and that management are comfortable to allow the England right-back run down the final six months of his £110,000-a-week deal.
Brendan Rodgers is well-stocked with right-back cover, with Javier Manquillo, Jon Flanagan and Andre Wisdom, currently on loan with WBA, all in the squad.
[table id=80 /]