Agger close to signing, Rafa cools on Simao

Brondby’s Daniel Agger should become a Liverpool player in the next few days with most of the work on the move completed. The two clubs still have a little way to go to on the actual fee, but £5.5million looks like being the eventual amount paid by Liverpool for the defender. The final touches to the deal need to be overseen by the Brondy chief executive, who has only returned from holiday today.

Rafael Benitez made it clear in the summer that he was hoping to sign a new centre-back, and Agger was one of the targets he had in mind. Brondy won’t comment one way or the other on the proposed deal – their spokesman Thomas Lytzen explained that they aren’t legally able to: “We are on the Copenhagen stock exchange and directly forbidden from commenting on rumours. They are the first to be informed of any transfers.” Later this morning it was revealed that Agger has been withdrawn from the Brondy side set to take part in an indoor tournament at the weekend.

If the deal goes through then Agger will become the second defender to sign for the Reds this winter – Jan Kromkamp was today training at Melwood, where it was revealed that he has been allocated the number 2 shirt, last worn by Stephan Henchoz. A full press conference takes place later today to officially introduce him to the press and TV.

Possibly two defenders in, and it looks like being the same number out. Josemi has already gone as part of the Kromkamp deal, but Djimi Traore seems to have finally come to the end of his Liverpool career. Almost a year to the day since he had the embarrassment in the FA Cup of scoring a spectacular own-goal against Burnley, the defender did make a recovery in the eyes of Rafael Benitez over the remainder of last season, but has rarely featured in this campaign. Fulham are the club linked most strongly to the player.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool have decided to drop out of the bidding for Benfica’s Simao Sabrosa. Despite a lot of reports claiming that Liverpool were about to bring him on board, the Echo say Rafael Benitez will not waste any more time dealing with Benfica over the player. He had agreed personal terms at Anfield in the summer after being given permission to talk to the Reds, but at the eleventh hour Benfica increased the asking price substantially. Now that Simao is cup-tied for the Champions League and six months nearer to the end of his contract, he is effectively worth less than he was in August. Elsewhere in the media reports had suggested that the deal had moved close to completion.  There’s no doubt that Rafa will consider a move for the player again should Benfica come up with a better price, but for now, as Rafa has made clear on many occasions, he’ll not pay over the odds for a player.

Staying with wingers, Mark Gonzales will be loaned out to Spanish side Espanyol for the remainder of this season unless a last minute attempt to organise a work-permit for the player is successful. Gonzales will no longer need a work permit by the end of the season as by then he will be eligible for a Spanish passport.

Lots of rumours of course now that we are in the mid-winter silly-season, but one that seemed to be gathering a lot of pace was a move to bring Jermaine Pennant to Anfield. Reportedly a Liverpool fan growing up, he’s been the subject of talks between Liverpool and Birmingham. It now seems though that Liverpool are unwilling to meet Birmingham’s valuation for the player and that he’ll be staying at St Andrews at least until the summer.