Reports: Reds agree £14.2m Alonso sale

Xabi Alonso trains for SpainThe next step in Rafa Benítez’s summer transfer plans looks to have taken place, with reports from Italy claiming that Liverpool have now agreed a fee with Juventus for the sale of Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso.

Liverpool’s original expectation, or starting point in negotiations, was £16m, but Corriere dello Sport say that Liverpool have accepted €18 million, £14.2 million, for one of the heroes of Istanbul. The report said Juve had made it clear this was their final offer, and were unwilling to add another million Euros to their offer, which would then have matched Liverpool’s demands.

The report also adds that Juve will send people to Liverpool now to sort out the minor small print on the deal.

Until recently Liverpool had maintained they didn’t want to sell Xabi, and Xabi had maintained that he didn’t want to leave, but Alonso has said more recently that he felt pride at being linked with Juve.

Earlier reports in Italy claimed Juve had given up on Alonso, and were now considering a bid for Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern Munich rather than pay the demanded £15m for Alonso.

Aston Villa have rejected the latest offer from Liverpool for Gareth Barry. Some claims in recent days had Liverpool bidding anywhere from £15m to £20m for Barry, but Liverpool’s bid seems to have been a more acceptable £13m. Acceptable to Liverpool fans that is, who on the whole feel that paying the kind of money Manchester United paid for Barry’s England team-mates Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves is way too much. But not acceptable to the Villa manager, who admits Barry wants to be a Red.

Gareth Barry wants to leave Villa for Champions League Football with Liverpool“Gareth and I had a little chat when he got back from holiday and he has said he would fancy going to Liverpool,” said O’Neill. “That’s obviously a big setback to us, but the offer from Liverpool is just not acceptable. He was the last person to have the captain’s armband in the last England game – so the offer Liverpool have made is just not acceptable even though they have upped it,” he ranted.

But O’Neill seems to be finally accepting that Barry’s position at Villa might be untenable: “I think it might be difficult to keep him because he has more than intimated to me that he fancies going to Liverpool so it’s a big setback to us. It’s very frustrating. We finished sixth and he played a major part in that and it was just looking like we could improve matters, because the club is capable of doing that.”

When a player makes it public he’s looking to go elsewhere, fans will turn against them, and Barry is now starting to be criticised by the fans who once idolised him. If a player desperately wants to leave, it’s not too practical to keep hold of him: “Look at Manchester United,” said O’Neill, “struggling to keep hold of Ronaldo. That leaves the rest of us in a bit of trouble.” Trouble that might see O’Neill forced to accept a lower bid or use a player who would be subject to unproportionate criticism for every minor mistake.

And O’Neill now seems determined to do well in the league, regardless of what happens with Barry: “That’s what you’re in football for. You want to try and get there and if it’s without Gareth Barry, we’ll still have a go.”

Meanwhile a remarkable quote has emerged from former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier. Although it was Houllier who found us Sami Hyypia, brought us Didi Hamann, and won us a treble, names like El Hadji Diouf and Djibril Cissé are associated with him far more. He had some strong backing in the transfer market – Cissé was his last signing at a then-LFC record of £14m, but didn’t arrive until after Houllier had been replaced. Torres watches as Villa signs (autographs)He proved to worth nothing like the fee paid, but now Houllier is implying he was never backed in the transfer market. Rafa Benítez still has players on the books that he can’t offload from the Houllier era, but the Frenchman is saying that he never had the kind of money to buy Fernando Torres, who cost Liverpool £20m: “Torres is a wonderful player and he has had an excellent first season at Liverpool. I only wish I’d had the money to buy someone like him when I was in charge there. He was outstanding against Russia, and so was David Villa. Their partnership is very interesting. The way they work together. The diagonal runs they make are very clever, very exciting.”

Rumours won’t die down that David Villa is on his way to Liverpool, but at this stage it’s difficult to tell if these are the types of rumour that would have him living in the house Zinedine Zidane rented from Martin O’Neill in Formby, next door to Didier Baptiste’s home. That said, Benítez does seem to be planning at least one major signing this summer, and that doesn’t refer to Barry or another target, Stewart Downing.

Yesterday’s Echo contained a report that seemed to dismiss reports from the North East that Liverpool had tried to buy James Milner from Newcastle in a swap deal using some of the club’s younger players. The paper reported Liverpool had dismissed talk that Jermaine Pennant was to be used in part-exchange for the winger, saying Newcastle had no desire to sign the former Birmingham player. It did say, however, that Newcastle had asked Liverpool about some of Liverpool’s “fringe players”.

John Arne Riise is interesting Italy’s Roma, but his agent is playing down their interest. The Roma manager Luciano Spalletti said earlier in the week: “A player like Riise can give a different kind of dimension. Considering the challenges that await us in the coming season, Riise has the qualities that we are looking for.” Despite that, he was cautious about going for the Norwegian international: “However, we have to look for other players as well and not make any mistakes in forming the new squad, such as losing the balance of the side. All we need is to add a little extra quality to our ranks so that we can compete in all competitions again.”

A bid of £4m is expected for the player Gerard Houllier signed from Monaco, but his agent Jan Kvalheim was non-committal: “There are many clubs who have been interested in the last few weeks, but it’s nothing I want to comment on.”

Whoever is in Liverpool’s squad next season, they could be making their first home appearance in a friendly with Atlético Madrid, former club of Fernando Torres and current club of well-loved ex-Red Luis Garcia.

Although not yet confirmed, the fixture would take place at Anfield on August 8th, a week before the Premier League season gets under way.  Fixtures for the league season are due to be announced on Monday.

It’s also just a few days before Liverpool start their bid to get into the Champions League proper – the first leg of their qualifying tie is due on August 12th or 13th.  They’ll know who their opponents are on August 1st when the draw takes place; the second leg is on August 26th or 27th.

That draw could potentially lead to the cancellation of this friendly – Liverpool are one of the seeded teams in that draw, and Atlético one of the unseeded teams – meaning the pair could be drawn together. Kicking lumps out of each other a few days before such a massive fixture wouldn’t be too desirable, with Atlético bidding to embark on their first season in the Champions League, and Liverpool needing Champions League income to help fund next summer’s transfer activity.

Reds chief executive Rick Parry said yesterday that the two clubs have had talks about the game, which would be the first home friendly for Liverpool’s first team during the reign of Benítez. Not that Rafa missed the last friendly the Reds played at Anfield – he was coaching the Valencia side that beat Liverpool 2-0.

74 thoughts on “Reports: Reds agree £14.2m Alonso sale”

  1. To buy Kuyt (who was not our first choice, Moores ‘privately’ lent the club the necessary fund because the club could not afford the 11m or so.

    Then, with new owners we spend £20m+ on one striker, £17m on a midfielder, buy two consecutive record signings for defenders (dossena assumed to have signed right?), babel in for a similary high fee…..

    you really think we’d be better off…..heck, we wouldn’t even be where we are now for hippies sake….

  2. I think some of the comments regarding Alonso being the right time to sell are a little short sighted. So what if he didnt have a great season last year, he was injured for a lot of it, remember? Familiarity breeds contempt to a degree I guess. If we are selling Alonso and buying Barry then ok, probably not much lost or gained as Barry has proved he can do the job in the prem but of all the players LFC have got Alonso seems a strange one to sell for no effective profit. I have a feeling that that was what rafa was trying to do, sell Alonso and buy Barry with a profit to spend on other players but it doesnt look like it has worked out that way and now he is committed.

  3. @Cantos

    Why do we need another centre half? I think we’ve got 3 cracking centre backs and 1 that is ageing but had a good season nevertheless last time around.

    And with regards to Alonso. He was injured for some of the season which didnt help him but towards the latter parts i thought we were starting to see the old xabi again. He’s a class act and a model professional.

  4. @ Martin if you want to e-mail Hicks just go to his dallas stars web site and you can e-mail them and ask them to forward your e-mail onto the man himself, thats what I done.

  5. Hicks says Torres not for sale.

    Hicks says Gerrard not for sale. Not yet but he will if asked.

    Hicks does not say Rafa can buy Snoogy Doogy, as he and his partner promised.

    Easy headlines on Torres. But even if Liverpool do buy Villa – or someone else of his ilk – it’s through Rafa’s trading and not due to any extra funding – as I’m sure Moores would have provided £20m budget if he was still at the helm.

    Better Hicks kept quiet until he and his (not-so) mate(s) have something to say on the ownership issue, as that’s the biggest issue facing the club.

  6. Wot Hicks keep quiet ? You’ve got to be joking, he’s a walking, talking PR exercise.
    Yes Moores could have borrowed the money to be where we are now and still owned the club but think where we could have been if DIC has bought the club.

  7. We are going to have to buy a striker before the next season otherwise we are only going to have Kuyt and Torres for next season. We are definatly not going in for Villa that is a fact but who are we going in for? We will probably hear somthing when the Euro’s have finished, but I can almost garuntee one thing it will not be a hgih profile player like Torres it will be a medioca player that Rafa will hope to bring on leaps and bounds.

  8. Balague’s comments today refer back to this passage in particular from his interview with Villa. Villa said: “I have heard that I am supposed to have said that I would prefer to go to Liverpool to play next season or that I want Chelsea to be my next team. Please, Guillem, make sure that people know that I have not said anything like that. My club insists I am not for sale and, believe me, I am totally focused on the European Championships. As far as I know, nobody from Liverpool has been in touch, but in any case my future is not something I have in my mind at the moment. I do not understand why people put words in my mouth.”

    Sounds fairly similar to this from Xabi a few weeks back: “”This is nothing new, there is always specualtion about me. I know perfectly well what my situation is. This has nothing to do with me. If the club wanted to sell me, I would know about it. If the club want to cash in on me and buy other players, I would accept it and look for another club, but they haven’t said anything to me. For that reason I think my future is still with Liverpool.”

    It does start to sound more like clutching at straws, but Villa’s words on their own don’t rule out a bid from Liverpool. Especially if he knows he’s got to keep quiet about any contact, for obvious reasons…

  9. @kopite999 – re the centre half comment. Yes we have 3 but what if we only have two again as happened this season. We were lucky that the remaining two managed no major injuries with the amount of games they had to play.

    We need cover its essential mate.

  10. @ Cantos

    We’ll have to agree to disagree. Personally i think Carragher, Agger, Skertel, Hypia is enough centre backs. If for some reason 3 of them were injured at the same time (highly unlikely) Arbeloa is capable of playing there. And after he’s performances for the ressies this season i’d like to see Ronald Huth have a game or two this year. Even Jack Hobbs.

    I think Rafa has priority positions he’d like to fill and centre back isnt one of them

  11. For some time now, my posts seem to be heading for an unnamed abyss only to surge up again when they are long overdue! I agree with Kopite that centre backs are no longer a priority now provided Agger is fully fit for August. And, Julie: I really think that Jim’s exegesis of Villa’s comments a few hours ago is spot on – Villa is just saying that he wants to be left alone with rumours until Spain have won the tournament (?!) and that, for all he knows, he’s not for sale. But Xabi (sorry to stir up traumatic stuff, Julie) had exactly the same kind of non-committal verbiage a few weeks ago. Villa is no prophet in his own country, and the likes of Barca seem to prefer Adebayor or some such overrated players to King David, so this seems to leave the door open for us. In David’s sound judgment I trust right now. He seems to be the same stuff as Nando – loyal and driven by the real footballing values (unlike some nauseating Portuguese about to sell his soul to Big Money).

  12. Pierre: I’m about to test the theory that I can save my breath to cool my porridge on all matters David Villa until after Spain (or the Netherlands) have won Euro 2008. After which point though, I will blather ad nauseum until the football fates relent and conspire to bring King David here just to shut me up. (By the way, if he’s a king, then our Number 9 is surely soon to be deified.)

    Please don’t judge the nauseating Portuguese too harshly – after all, he needs ALL that money to keep up the payments on his cavernous stock of hair gel.

  13. Hi People. Its my first comment on any website but I have read with interest all you comments over the past 12 months or so.

    So for a fist timer …..@Pierre
    He seems to be the same stuff as Nando – loyal and driven by the real footballing values (unlike some nauseating Portuguese about to sell his soul to Big Money).

    Could’nt agree more. If he signed and shows half the mental strength an good grace/manners as Fernando has…Then by God we’ll be something to watch.

  14. “(unlike some nauseating Portuguese about to sell his soul to Big Money). ”

    @Pierre if I was Ronaldo and I was in his position I would leave in the summer. You seem to be forgetting he was a Liverpool supporter when he was young, and he only went to the mans because some dopey bastard felt the price was far too high for such a young player. It seems like a bargain now though.

  15. @The Egg: I cannot help it, though. There are Mancs I find tolerable (Scoles, Giggs, even ‘our’ Rooney) because they are loyal to their club (Rooney will never leave United). I’ll never forget Ronaldo’s devilish wink to one of his mates when he got Rooney sent off in this infamous match. And he has been duplicitous all along. Has just signed a new contract with Manure and just hasn’t had the courage to tell O’Whisky what he had intended to do for quite some time. Waited until Fergie was a couple of thousand miles away to start dropping hints that his future was uncertain. That fellow would sell his granny to the devil if there were some bucks in the bargain…

  16. Good luck Xabi, though I have to add that I don’t wanna say goodbye. Not yet. So I still hope that whoever gets involved in this bussiness would change his mind and let Xabi stay in Anfield. Without him, we will miss those killer passes, those brilliant finishes, and those miraculous long-distance strikes too much next season. Just stay, and we’ll surely get a league title.

    Whatever, nunca caminaras solo~~

  17. I think its going to be really really sad to see Alonso go… thinking about it i really will miss him! He is really under rated and could achieve alot more with Liverpool, i think Rafa has been a bit unfair with him and he deserves to be treated better! I also think Liverpool should forget about Barry… i really dont rate him! Everyone is ranting because he is english thats all! Anyway VIlla would be an amazing target but probs too expensive now he has the attention from Euros scoring and all… But him and Torres up front together!! Better than Ronaldo and thats all i can say 😀

  18. barry is nothing better than xabi alonso…barry score more goals because he takes penalty for villa.

    Rafa is so wrong if he is going to replace Xabi with barry. If he sell Xabi, that means all of his signing from the first season is a failure…

    He is an incompetent manager…always complain lack of fund against MU & chelsea. Arsenal also did not spend much on transfer but still can play a good football. Get a right player Rafa! What liverpool team lack is a player with a good techniques which can keep the ball at their feet.

    Go for ben arfa, nasri, david silva ,Mancini or Ronaldinho not riera, dossena which is not even qualify to sit on their national team bench. I saw Riera on youtube…he can’t dribble and not quick.

    What is wrong with Rafa Benitez?? Why don’t he used or youth players which Liverpool had invested so much money for the past season. Paul Anderson, Adam Hammil can be developed into awsome winger.

    Look what happens to stephen warnock…. He managed to be an england international when he plays with blackburn. He is much better than riise. What a mistake Rafa…

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