John Arne Riise is no longer a Liverpool player after he left and joined AS Roma for just short of £4m, according to an announcement from the Italian side tonight.
The fee of €5m, which converts to £3.96m, is close to the £4.6m Liverpool paid for him seven years ago, when former boss Gerard Houllier signed him from Monaco. Riise has signed for four years, the Roma website says.
The Italian club’s statement simply read: “AS Roma announce they have reached an agreement with Liverpool Football Club for the acquisition of the sporting rights of the player John Arne Riise with effect from July 1 2008.”
However Liverpool FC’s remained more cautious about confirming the news. The deal has been as good as done, but they are waiting for the red tape before confirming the news. A statement on LFC.tv said: “Liverpool are awaiting completion of the necessary paperwork before officially announcing John Arne Riise’s transfer to AS Roma. Riise arrived in the Italian capital on Wednesday and held talks with the Serie A side, who have since announced he has signed on a four year deal.”
Riise had taken some time to come to terms with the idea he was surplus to requirements in the eyes of Rafa Benítez, but when he did accept the idea commented that the £5m demanded by Liverpool seemed high. The fee paid is good business for Liverpool considering the Norwegian star had just a year left on his deal.
Riise finalised talks on personal terms, already initiated by his agent, and passed a medical in the Italian capital. A statement earlier in the day from Roma said: “As part of ongoing negotiations with Liverpool football club regarding the signing of John Arne Riise, Roma have been authorised to deal with the agent of the player.” His agent, Jan Kvalheim, had also confirmed Riise’s presence in Italy: “I can confirm that John Arne Riise is in Rome for a medical and to finalise the negotiations. A few small details remain.”
Those details are now done, other than that paperwork Liverpool are waiting on, and there is now a vacant number six shirt in Liverpool’s dressing room.
Liverpool will reveal their new away kit at midnight tonight, officially, but images of the kit have already been seen on the internet. Images had been circulated some months ago, but the latest leaks show Liverpool players Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina in the tops. The grey shirts are reminiscent of the Candy ones Liverpool had in a previous deal with Adidas, and will bring back fond memories for many Reds.
Reina played the full 90 minutes for Spain tonight as their 2-1 win gave them a 100% record so far in Euro tournament. Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa also got 90 minutes under their belts, as coach Luis Aragones rested most of his first choice players. Spain had already qualified for the quarter finals. That quarter final tie will be against Italy when Liverpool forward Fernando Torres and David Villa, his team-mate for Spain, should start.