Echo: Pennant undergoing medical

According to this afternoon’s Liverpool Echo, Birmingham’s Jermaine Pennant will become a Liverpool player later today, assuming he successfully completes a medical. The paper says that club doctor Mark Waller delayed his own journey to Switzerland to oversee Pennant’s medical.

The 23-year-old former Arsenal star is to sign for a fee now being quoted of £6million, £1.5million of which is going to be given to Arsenal as their share of any future sell-on fees. Although it’s more than Rafael Benitez really wanted to pay, he probably didn’t want to wait any longer for a right-winger, after finally giving up on Daniel Alves.

The Echo also say that Rafa won’t be able to put in a reasonable bid for Dutch unless he offloads “several more” players from the squad to generate some funds. Jerzy Dudek could be one of those on his way out, after Liverpool provided his fellow “second choice” keeper Scott Carson with a new five-year contract, keeping him at Anfield until 2011. Carson had always been seen as the long-term successor to Reina, along with David Martin, and Dudek’s days are numbered – as long as a decent fee is forthcoming. The paper quotes Portsmouth offering £1.5m.

Young winger Paul Anderson’s exciting performances have earned him rave reviews from all those seeing him in action. In fact it’s not just rave reviews he’s earned, he also been handed an improved contract as recognition of his outstanding potential. His new deal takes him up to 2010.

Continue reading Echo: Pennant undergoing medical

PA: Pennant fee agreed – £6.2m

The battle from Jermaine Pennant to make himself a Liverpool player seems to be another step closer to paying off, with the Press Association reporting that a £6.2m bid has finally been accepted by Birmingham City.

The report from PA says, “Sources close to the Coca-Cola Championship club claim a deal has been agreed and that the player is on his way to Liverpool for further talks.”

The actual amount Liverpool have bid and the amount Birmingham want has been speculated about by many, but it’s pretty clear Liverpool want to buy him, Birmingham want to sell him. Now it looks like they’ve finally managed to meet in the middle. Other reports have suggested that the two parties were negotiating the finer points of exactly how the fee would be paid, including clauses for appearances on so on, to lessen the blow initially. In fact it’s a clause in Birmingham’s original deal with Arsenal that’s got them hanging on for more. Arsenal require 25% of any sell-on fee, around £1.5million if the latest figure quoted is correct.

The only potential problem with this latest story is that one of its writers was reportedly responsible for trying to chalk off two of Peter Crouch’s goals as own goals last season. He was of course proved wrong on that, so we’ll wait for the time being to see if he’s right with this story.

If this deal does still go through, Rafa will be looking next at bringing another striker to the club. He’s already said this week he’d like another 1 or 2 players to be added to the squad.
Continue reading PA: Pennant fee agreed – £6.2m

Birmingham – no Pennant bid accepted

Birmingham City made a move this afternoon to deny the reports in the press this morning that they had agreed a fee with Liverpool for the transfer of Jermaine Pennant.

The statement, issued through their official website, reads as follows:

CLUB STATEMENT REGARDING JERMAINE PENNANT

Contrary to reports in today’s media, Birmingham City Football Club has not agreed a fee with Liverpool FC for Jermaine Pennant.

The two clubs have talked on a couple of occasions but Birmingham City and Liverpool Football Club are a long way off in their respective valuations of the player.

Until Birmingham’s valuation is met, the Club will not even consider a move for Pennant.

As Birmingham City have continually stated, they are not looking to sell any of their best players.

Claims of transfer fees being agreed and bids being made are forever appearing in newspapers, but it’s unusual for clubs to make statements like this. The statement hints that Birmingham are ready to sell the player, although they are going to lengths to make sure they aren’t perceived as actually offering their players to other clubs.

The media event at Anfield yesterday to help launch the club’s new partnership with Adidas will have given Liverpool an opportunity to drop hints about targets if they so wished.

Today’s story in the Mirror from David Maddock quoted £6million and that the deal was done. Chris Bascombe of the Echo is quoting £5million, and says the deal is not yet done.

Rafa wants to get some players in, that’s no secret, but he’d not reveal who. He did confirm though that the policy remains the same over transfer fees – Liverpool will not be ripped off. He said: “We are continuing to work to bring in more players, but it’s difficult to say where we are at this moment, it depends on two or three factors. We are closer with some players, but I’m not the kind of manager who will say ‘I want this player and I’ll pay £20m to get him’ if his value is only £10m. We don’t have the money for doing this and we have a responsibility. We will try to sign the best players for us with the money we have.”

Rafa also said that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he had to wait to clinch the transfers until January again, like he did with Daniel Agger last season. “I’m really happy with the squad now, but we will continue working and I think this week we can make one or two signings. If not, we can wait a little longer.”
Continue reading Birmingham – no Pennant bid accepted

Mirror: Pennant could sign for Reds today

Birmingham City winger Jermaine Pennant is set to sign for Liverpool after the Reds latest bid was accepted, according to The Mirror newspaper.

Reporter David Maddock, a friend of Robbie Fowler amongst others at Anfield, has made the claim in his column this morning, saying Birmingham have accepted the offer of £6million.

According to Maddock, the attempts to sign Alves are over, his £12million asking price far too high a value in the eyes of Rafa Benitez. Maddock says: “Benitez admitted Liverpool simply could not afford to buy Alves and instead switched his sights to 23-year-old former Arsenal midfielder Pennant.”

Steve Bruce says Liverpool had a bid of £3.5m turned down in the past few weeks, Maddock says it was £3m: “Liverpool had an initial bid of £3m turned down by City manager Steve Bruce, but last night Benitez went back with double that amount and Birmingham – relegated from the Premiership last season – had little option but to reluctantly accept.”

Maddock says Pennant will complete talks today and then undergo a medical.

See the Mirror article in full here: Benitez lands £6m Pennant.

The Guardian also claim Pennant will join Liverpool this week, in their case the fee will be “in the region of £7million” and the deal will be done by the end of the week. My belief in the credibility of their claims is taken away completely by the fact they refer to Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso as “Xabier Alonso”. Link to Guardian article.

The Guardian’s line on things is repeated pretty much throughout the other nationals, suggesting that the newspapers are taking a little bit of a guess. Whether Maddock is also taking a guess remains to be seen, but that does seem something of a hike in the transfer fee.

Continue reading Mirror: Pennant could sign for Reds today

Adidas-Liverpool partnership launched with four new kits

Liverpool’s alliance with Adidas was launched in style today as some of the Liverpool FC big names spent their first day back on public duty by modelling the new shirts.

Captain Steven Gerrard modelled the new home kit, all Red of course, as it has been since Bill Shankly came up with the idea, to put fear into Liverpool opponents.

Fellow England international and club vice-captain Jamie Carragher was given the job of modelling the shirt already seen in Liverpool’s two pre-season fixtures. The white shirts, shorts and socks, with a green flash, are the kit that will ultimately become Liverpool’s third kit, if required, for domestic fixtures, but will predominately be used for an away shirt in European games. If Liverpool can negotiate the qualifiers next month, that will be in Champions League fixtures.

Continue reading Adidas-Liverpool partnership launched with four new kits

Xabi confirms he’s staying

Xabi Alonso was one of the Liverpool players at today’s press launch of the new Liverpool kit, which was also an official launch of the tie-up between Liverpool and Adidas. Xabi also wanted to make it clear he’d continue to wear Liverpool shirts as long as he could, despite rumours at the weekend.

Rumours in Spain said that Real Madrid wanted to try and sign the star, but as always, Liverpool won’t sell their top players unless the players themselves want to move. Rafa Benitez confirmed this, and today Xabi made it clear he’s no wish to move on.

Image Xabi said: “I want to stay at Liverpool, that is for sure. I know there have been stories in the Spanish press but I take no notice of them. I am only interested in playing for Liverpool and I’m concentrating only on preparing for the new season.”

Meanwhile Scott Carson still isn’t sure if he’ll be wearing one of the new goalkeeper’s kits this season. He’s possibly going to go out on loan, but no decision has been made yet by Liverpool. This is causing problems for Sheffield Wednesday boss Paul Sturrock who was keen to try and get another loan deal tied up for the England World Cup squad member. Carson is reported as saying he’d be happy to return on loan to Wednesday, but Sturrock can’t get Liverpool to make a decision. For now, he’s hanging on in hope.

Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield, Sturrock said he hopes the final answer will come tomorrow: “It is not looking as if we will get him, but until I get a definite ‘no’ from Liverpool, I will keep chipping away. I think the Wednesday fans would have wanted to wait as long as I could to get Scott and in the end I’ve probably waited longer than I should. Plan A has always been to sign Scott, Plan B has been scuppered because we’ve been hanging on for him and now we’re having to move onto Plan C.”

Continue reading Xabi confirms he’s staying

Rafa happy with squad – but still wants more

Liverpool head for their pre-season training camp in Switzerland tomorrow and manager Rafael Benítez says that it’s a much stronger squad he taking over there this year compared to last. Not only that, but he’s still trying to strengthen it further.

On Saturday Liverpool played their second pre-season fixture, winning 1-0 against Crewe thanks to a well taken goal from 17-year-old Craig Lindfield. Lindfield was the top scorer for the Reds youth side on the way to their FA Youth Cup triumph, and he was set up for the goal with a great back heel by the master of goalscoring for Liverpool, a former academy product himself, Robbie Fowler.

Rafa doesn’t want Lindfield to be suddenly turned into a player with huge expectations resting on his shoulders after this goal, but he was really pleased at the way the pair teamed up in the first half: “The positive things for me were the movement of Lindfield and Fowler. They had a very, very good understanding. Fowler is very clever and it’s really important for him to be fit in pre-season because that will be key for the rest of the season.”

Continue reading Rafa happy with squad – but still wants more

Railywaymen looking forward to Liverpool visit

Liverpool’s visit to Crewe Alexandra for a friendly today is a part of the special relationship that exists between the two clubs. Today’s game is completely sold-out and although it won’t feature any of the Reds players involved in the World Cup, it will still see some excellent players running out onto the field in Liverpool shirts. White Liverpool shirts like last week – the new home kit is to be revealed on Monday.

Crewe’s manager, the long-serving Dario Gradi, spoke of how Liverpool and Crewe have had close ties for many years: “We had an alliance with Liverpool a few years ago, which was designed to help both parties and I think it still works well. People said we were a feeder club for Liverpool but that wasn’t true. Liverpool are always the first port of call we make if we are thinking about loaning someone in and if we have a player I think could be good enough for them then I will tell. That was the case when Danny moved and I suggested Dean could be an option for them when he was ready to move on.”

Grady was referring to Danny Murphy, ironically one of the first players to be sold by Rafael Benitez, and Dean Ashton, one of the West Ham scorers in May’s FA Cup final. Loans to Crewe in recent years from Anfield have included Stephen Wright, Jon Newby and Crewe’s current right-back Jon Otsemobor, who’s now a permanent player for the club.

Speaking to the official Crewe website, Grady said that Liverpool’s youngsters also benefit from the partnership: “When the Academy need a fixture then we try and sort something out with them. If Hugh McAuley rings up and wants a game then we try and do our best to sort something out.”

Grady is on good terms with Liverpool’s Chief Executive, Rick Parry: “I’ve known Rick for many years and we get on well. I first met him when I went to the FA over the FA Technical Director’s job and he was one of the chief men there. We had a good relationship when Peter Robinson and Roy Evans were at the club and that carried on when Gerard Houllier took over. I’ve not met Rafa Benitez yet but I would imagine we will have a chat at some point.”

Rafa will no doubt try and find time to chat to Dario today after the game at Crewe’s Gresty Road ground. Maybe it will allow the two clubs to rebuild the links they once had. According to Crewe’s assistant manager Neil Baker the link isn’t what is once was: “We might not have the sort of link we had with Liverpool before, but we do get to know about most of their young players and how they are doing. Myself and Glyn Chamberlain go to see most of their youngsters in the reserve games there so we do keep tabs on that.” Chamberlain is Crewe’s chief scout.
 
Baker says that despite the absence of the likes of Alonso, Carragher and Gerrard, it will still be some opposition they have to face: “We know Liverpool’s World Cup players won’t be playing, but there will still be some good players on show. It will be good to see Craig Bellamy play and there will be some terrific talent for the supporters. It will be nice to play a very good side in front of a good crowd, but we will certainly have to do a bit more running without the ball.”

Continue reading Railywaymen looking forward to Liverpool visit

Duff undergoing medical at Newcastle

Newcastle United have agreed terms with both Chelsea and Damien Duff now for the player to become the latest signing of the North East side. The player is now reportedly undergoing the formality of a medical, before no doubt being unveiled tomorrow to a huge crowd at St James’ Park.

It had been reported earlier by Sky Sports that Liverpool were one of three clubs to be speaking to the player, but no word came out of Anfield on the issue one way or the other.

It did seem an unlikely choice for Liverpool boss Benitez to be considering, given the existing options he has for the left side of midfield, and now focus shifts flanks again to the right wing. Jermaine Pennant seems likely to sign if Birmingham drop their £6m asking price down to something closer to Liverpool’s reported previous bid of £3.5m.
Continue reading Duff undergoing medical at Newcastle

Pennant says he’ll ignore speculation for now

Although no doubt secretly hoping that he gets a move to Liverpool and is able to stay a Premiership player, Birmingham winger Jermaine Pennant today said publicly that he’d be happy enough to stay a Birmingham player for the new season.

Earlier in the day Liverpool Chief Executive denied making a bid for him.

Now reports in the press are quoting that Liverpool have had a £3.5m bid rejected previously.

In reality the big transfer window game of “Call my Bluff” is taking place again. Liverpool would like to sign Pennant, but won’t pay too much for him, and might not need him if they get other players they are looking for. If Liverpool can buy Alves, they might not need Pennant. If Liverpool buy Alves they might not be able to afford Alves. At the other side of the studio are Birmingham City. They’d love to be able to keep him, but despite claims they don’t need to sell him they’d feel much more comfortable if they did let him go. So who’s prepared to budge most on the price?

The same story is taking place with Alves, although that move now seems to have reached a point where final offers have been made.

Pennant’s desire to move to Anfield may be officially a secret, but it’s not being kept a very good secret. And the revelation of a £3.5m bid may have come through his agent as often happens during transfer negotiations.

Now though Pennant is concentrating on his current club: “I am taking every day as it comes as a Birmingham player. All the speculation and stuff doesn’t bother me. If no-one actually says anything to me, then I ignore it. Like I said, I’m still here and I’m looking forward to the start of the season. No-one likes to get relegated. And we shouldn’t have gone down, everyone knows that. That’s in the past now, let’s look to the future, try and rebuild and get back into the Premiership. We’ve got some new players in who are keen to impress, and mainly the same squad as last season.”

If he does have to stay in the Midlands then he’ll be doing his best to help them bounce straight back up again: “I’m sure what we are doing, all the hard work in training, and the determination of everyone, we will take those things into the Championship. I think we’ve definitely got a chance of coming back up. Although people like Emile Heskey and Kenny Cunningham have gone, we’ve still got a big squad with quality players and we can push to win the league.”

In an update on the earlier story on Damien Duff, Newcastle manager Glen Roeder refused to either confirm or deny the Geordie’s interest in the winger.
Continue reading Pennant says he’ll ignore speculation for now