Masch signs for Barca, Roy tries to strengthen

Javier Mascherano’s move to Barcelona was finally confirmed this evening after the player passed his five-hour medical and penned a four-year contract. The process had been held up by delays in documentation coming through from Anfield.

Mascherano signs for LiverpoolMascherano’s contract includes a buyout clause of €90m and is worth less financially to the player than it originally would have been. Barça’s vice president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the player had made extra efforts to see the deal done: “He gave up 20% of the initially agreed salary,” explained Bartomeu.

What Bartomeu wouldn’t reveal was how much the Reds had made from the transfer:  “Liverpool have asked us not to announce the transfer fee for now. That’ll happen later.”

Why Liverpool have told Barcelona to keep the fee a secret is anyone’s guess, but the 20% given up by Mascherano, reportedly worth €3m over the four years of the deal, was the difference between Barcelona’s final offer and Liverpool’s asking price.

Mascherano said it was worth it: “The last thing that crossed my mind was the money. I gave up part of my salary because this was a unique opportunity. I might lose some money but I win a lot football-wise.”
Continue reading Masch signs for Barca, Roy tries to strengthen

£11.5m Raul Meireles signs for Reds

Liverpool tonight announced that 27-year-old Raul Meireles had signed for the club from FC Porto.

Raul Meireles, Liverpool and PortugalAlthough there is never a guarantee that a player moving to English football will reproduce the form shown in his homeland the Portuguese international midfielder is seen as a very good signing for Liverpool.

In what is a rare move the club have actually announced the fee. According to the official site he cost the club £11.5m (€14m) and has signed a 4-year-contract. No doubt the photos showing the player undergoing his “medical” will be released some time tomorrow.

With Javier Mascherano in Barcelona to finalise his move away from Anfield the attention now moves to how the club will spend the remainder of the funds raised from that sale and also the money that should still be in the infamous ‘player account’ from deals already done in 2010.

Liverpool have made a profit on transfer trading in each of the past three transfer windows and before taking the Meireles and Mascherano fees into consideration were still over £5m in profit in this window.
Continue reading £11.5m Raul Meireles signs for Reds

Mascherano paying the price for happiness

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano arrived in Barcelona at lunchtime today as he moved a step closer to setting up home in a country where he hopes his wife will be happy and where in turn he will be able to finally enjoy something approaching normal family life.

His desperation to see his family happy has, according to reports in Spain, personally cost him over €3m.

He’ll be unveiled to fans on Monday, subject to passing a medical.

Javier Mascherano arrives at BarcelonaMascherano played a vital role for Liverpool during his three and a half years at the club. Although he started last season with his mind clearly on other issues he has on the whole been treated as a hero by most supporters since he arrived at Anfield, initially on loan, in 2007.

But no matter how he felt about his time on the pitch it was his home life that was troubling him of late. He was desperately unhappy that he was unable to spend a great deal of time with his wife or young family after his wife had been unable to settle in the country. She spent a lot of time back in Argentina and it was clearly not the kind of situation that can go on without causing lasting problems for all concerned. It’s understandable he was looking for a move.

On his arrival in Barcelona today his words explained so much about how relieved he felt to be this close to the start of a new stage in his family and career life: “It’s a dream, a great joy. It is a pride for me and my family to take this step forward in my career.”
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Reds late-show rewarded with trips to Romania, Italy and Holland

The draw for the group stage of the Europa League has been made and Liverpool now face trips to Romania, Italy and Holland.

The Reds are in Group K with Steaua Bucharest, Napoli and Utrecht.

Romania’s Steaua Bucharest last played Liverpool in 2003 in the same competition, then known as the UEFA Cup, with Gerard Houllier’s side making it into the third round having won 2-1 on aggregate.

There’s an element of the unknown when it comes to Italian side Napoli, a side Liverpool have never played previously during their many years of European travels.
Continue reading Reds late-show rewarded with trips to Romania, Italy and Holland

Mascherano set for Barcelona

Javier Mascherano is set to sign for Barcelona after the two clubs agreed a fee meaning the Argentine captain now has official permission to speak to the Spanish side.

Mascherano on his wayMascherano had been looking for a move away from Anfield since last summer, citing his wife’s unhappiness as the main reason for his desire to not just change club but change country.

After a certain amount of game-playing in public by the club this summer they eventually accepted that Mascherano wanted to leave and made it clear that he could go – just as soon as somebody put an offer in that met Liverpool’s demands.

That offer was some time coming, with Barcelona said to be in a position where they needed to sell before they could buy but also no doubt trying to capitalise on the desperation of both Liverpool FC and the player to see his future resolved. Barcelona’s league season begins this weekend, whereas Liverpool are about to play their third game of the league season, still looking for a win.

Liverpool announced the news on their website: “Liverpool Football Club have agreed terms for the transfer of Javier Mascherano to FC Barcelona. The Spanish club have now been given permission to speak to the Argentina midfielder.”

With claims that the player had actually agreed terms with Barça before the two sides had agreed a fee it was no surprise to see Barça’s announce that the only obstacle now left was for the player to successfully pass a medical. “FC Barcelona and Liverpool CF have reached an agreement for the transfer of Javier Mascherano for the next four seasons,” said the English translation of Barcelona’s statement on their official site. “The deal depends on the utility star passing a medical at Barça and the signing of his contract. Mascherano will arrive in Barcelona on this weekend.”

Barcelona also said that Mascherano had played a part himself in getting the deal done: “The deal was closed after intensive efforts made by the club in the final hours and through the player himself in the negotiations.”
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Reds still held to ransom by outrageous asking price

When Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks reportedly put a figure as high as £800m on the club shortly after he and George Gillett had put it up for sale it shattered any illusion that the owners had finally admitted it was time to move on.

Gillett Hicks RBSLater figures suggested demands as ‘low’ as £500m – but were still some way short of what was on offer from the only known bidder for the club.

Although Huang had initially suggested his offer would be no higher than £325m his eventual offer is believed to have been £400m. Despite being more than double the price paid by the current owners in 2007 it would still leave them without any profit to speak of. Annual profits have all been eaten up to cover the high costs of the club’s RBS debt.  The last official figure on that debt is £237m; by the time the next attempt to refinance is due, in October, it will be nearer £300m.

On top of the debt to the bank is the debt to the owners. Rather than putting any money in as equity they put their money in as intercompany loans that they slap an annual interest rate of 10% onto. This figure stood at around £130m the last time it was officially revealed.

Hicks is said to expect potential revenues from a stadium yet to be built added onto the asking price. He can’t take the risk on the project himself yet expects a premium to allow others to do so. Most observers are astounded at these demands.

£400m is seen as paying well above the club’s true worth.
Continue reading Reds still held to ransom by outrageous asking price

And then there were none.

A statement from Kenny Huang and QSL on last night announced that he had formally withdrawn from the process to sell Liverpool Football Club to new owners. Huang said: “I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time.”

No reason was given in the statement for the decision, but it is believed he had grown frustrated by the apparent slow pace of a process in which he firmly believed he was the only viable bidder.

Broughton pictured with other biddersNow there are doubts about how genuine Martin Broughton was when he said that the club would be sold to the best bidder. It suggested that, contrary to his claims, the current owners were not only able to block the sale of the club but were actively doing so.

It also suggested that Martin Broughton was not taking the bid seriously and in turn created doubts that he was even taking the sales process seriously.

Broughton once said: “I have always taken the view that if you’re not at the table you’re likely to be on the menu.” He now finds himself sitting alone at the table; there’s nothing palatable on the menu. And he has nobody else to blame.
Continue reading And then there were none.

Time for Broughton to break his silence

Ever since it became obvious to supporters that Liverpool Football Club was “in the wrong hands” the arguments have raged about exactly whose fault it was.

Raising a glass to Huang's departure?Today, the club is still in the wrong hands. Today, the arguments rage about what kind of owner Kenny Huang might have been. Today, we’re talking in the past tense when discussing the man said to be fronting a bid that had the backing of China’s sovereign wealth fund. Huang pulled out of the sales process last night, clearly frustrated at the way he’d been treated.

This club has been at war with itself for three years. This war means all trust has gone. Not only will any potential bidder be instantly met with suspicion but also at times will anyone seen to have put their trust in that potential bidder.
Continue reading Time for Broughton to break his silence

Huang withdraws bid for Liverpool FC

The following statement has been issued on behalf of Kenny Huang and QSL Sports:

After due consideration, Kenny Huang and QSL Sports is withdrawing from the ongoing sales process with respect to Liverpool FC. Mr. Huang has formally notified the Chairman of the Liverpool FC Board.

“Over the past few months we learned firsthand that Liverpool has a very special place in the hearts of millions of fans around the world,” Mr. Huang said. “We concluded that a plan that properly capitalizes the business and provides funds for a new stadium and player related costs would allow Liverpool FC to provide its great fans with the success they deserve. Our strategy and unique ability to expand the fan base in Asia would also have been of benefit to all. We regret that we will not have the opportunity to implement this strategy.”

“We thank the many Liverpool fans who expressed support for our efforts and wish the club great success in the years to come. I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time,” Mr. Huang said.

Teams: Liverpool v Trabzonspor

Liverpool v TrabzonsporEuropa League – Kick-off 7:45pm

Roy Hodgson said that the Europa League would be prioritised some way below the Premier League this season and for tonight’s play-off first leg he’s certainly not picked his strongest side.

Only one of the back-four survives from Sunday’s draw. Daniel Agger has been suffering from concussion since that game and is replaced by Fabio Aurelia at left-back. Johnson makes way for Kelly and Skrtel makes way for Kyrgiakos but Carragher keeps his place and will be captain tonight.

Carra’s got the armband because Gerrard is rested along with Mascherano, meaning Lucas will partner new signing Christian Poulsen in the centre of midfield.

Joe Cole is suspended for three league games so he gets a start tonight, along with Maxi and Jovanovich, with Ryan Babel set to start up front. Torres and Ngog are on the bench.

One first-choice player who starts is Pepe Reina and if he’s true to his usual form his mistake on Sunday against Arsenal will be long forgotten.

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Aurelio, Lucas, Poulsen, Cole, Maxi, Jovanovic, Babel.
Subs: Cavalieri, Torres, Wilson, Ngog, Spearing, Skrtel, Pacheco.