Figo weighs up options

Reports plastered throughout the press in Europe say that Luis Figo will move to Italian side Inter Milan rather than to Anfield.

Figo was released by Real Madrid at the end of last season and so negotiated a deal to join Liverpool. Real then went back on their decision and so demanded a trasfer fee, which Liverpool refused to pay.

Liverpool have made their offer to Figo for what they believe he is worth. There is no doubt that the player is extremely talented, but at 32 years of age he is coming towards the end of his professional career. Liverpool’s offer was final, save for perhaps some minor changes. Figo accepted the offer on the understanding that Real would be paying him a substantial part of what he was already owed for the final year of his contract in Spain. This figure is believed to be £2million, the same amount that Real demanded as a transfer fee.

Liverpool have said that there has been no progress in the move for Figo, and that with him being in Asia they don’t expect too much to happen. Inter meanwhile are claiming they have almost signed Figo – and his team-mate Walter Samuel. Inter’s owner, Massimo Moratti, spoke to his club’s website and said: "There are two separate negotiations. If we already knew how they would finish there wouldn’t be any negotiations. They could be done by this evening but they could continue."

It does seem that Figo has now got three choices available. He could stay with Real and earn the full amount of money he’s entitled to under his contract next season – but in return he’d get very little playing time which would have an impact on his hopes of a return to the World Cup with Portugal next summer. If he moves to Anfield he will earn less money but will get much more football, and will play in a league he’s often wished to play in. He’ll also be playing for a "dream" club, if his recent comments are to be believed.  The move to Inter seems to be a compromise move. Inter are prepared to come to an arrangement with both Real and the player to ensure he picks up an amount closer to what he desires next season. Inter are not seen as a club on the way up in the way Liverpool are though, and the challenge may not be what he wants. He’d also be playing in a league that many flair players consider boring.

Liverpool fans can be glad of one thing though. The Reds management have made a decision on how much Figo is worth to them. If he joins then it shows he’s willing to play for the European Champions without being too hung up on the financial aspects of the deal. If he decides to go to Italy, then his motives for the move perhaps need to be questioned, and mercenary players are no longer welcome at Anfield as most fans will tell you.

Another player that Liverpool have been linked with all summer has no made it clear he won’t be arriving at Anfield. Gabriel Milito had been quoted earlier in the summer as being desperate for a move to Anfield, but has now signed a new five-year contract with his current club, Primera Liga side Real Zaragoza. The Argentine central defender was offered the same money by his current club as Liverpool were set to offer, and so decided to stay in Spain. The player appeared in the Confederation Cup last month and had two years left on his original contract. Liverpool’s bids had been turned down by Zaragoza who were determined not to lost the 24-year-old, who joined them from Independiente in 2003.

Liverpool are now being linked to a move for Deportivo La Coruna’s Portuguese defender Jorge Andrade, but Coruna deny that they’ve received a bid for the 27-year-old. Their spokesman Rafael Carpacho said: "At the moment there has not been any offer from Liverpool. All we know is what has appeared in the papers."

Liverpool are going to be looking at strengthening their defence due to the potentially high number of games they could be playing this season. A former defender of Liverpool that was a big part of Liverpool’s temporary resurgence under Gerard Houllier found a new club yesterday. Stephane Henchoz signed for Liverpool’s newest local rivals Wigan after he passed his medical. He had been on a trial with Latics last week after Celtic had released him, and manager Paul Jewell liked what he saw. Wigan are strengthening their squad in preparation for their first Premiership season and Jewell likes Henchoz’s experience. He said: "He’s still fairly young at 30, but the main thing is he has a lot of experience and that can help us."

Henchoz fell out of favour with new Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and was on his way to Celtic as soon as the January transfer window had opened. He joined Blackburn from Hamburg in 1997 before moving to Liverpool two years later for £3.5million as the Lancashire club were relegated.