Reds sign three on deadline day

Liverpool have now signed Javier Mascherano on loan from West Ham. The club have yet to make the announcement officially, but sources at the club have said it's a done deal.

The Argentinean's signing follows on from official announcements earlier today that Deportivo La Coruna's defender Alvaro Arbeloa and Malaga's midfielder Francisco Manuel Duran had become Liverpool players. Arbeloa is believed to have cost the Reds £2.5m, and Duran cost a nominal fee as payable under rules for compensation for young players.

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LFC mention DIC deal collapse – briefly and belatedly.

Almost three hours after the news broke that DIC had pulled out of their planned move to take over Liverpool FC, the club finally made an announcement on the issue. Not much of one though. It simply read: "Liverpool Football Club has noted today's announcement by Dubai International Capital. The process of seeking new owners for the club is still underway and a decision on the future will be taken in the next few days."

Of course the only decision now, short of going cap in hand to the Dubai group, is to either accept whatever offer Gillett has made, or scrap the plans for the new stadium and for the club to stay as it is.

Meanwhile the chief stirrer of trouble in the whole investment saga has been having his say. Mihir Bose is now the BBC sports editor after leaving his job at the Telegraph. He's written many articles about the investment hopes of the club, most of which turned out to be ill-informed. His last article in his newspaper job was one where he sensationalised the contents of a so-called "confidential" document outlining DIC's preliminary plans over the proposed takeover. Speaking to Five Live, Bose all of a sudden seemed to have the ear of the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed. He said: "Mohammed is a very angry man and that is why he has pulled out. He was given assurances by Liverpool that they would go with them but the talk of other offers has unsettled him and he has pulled out. DIC saw this as business enterprise but Gillett has told Liverpool that they are a sports franchise and they know how to run sports operations. With Gillett it won't be like an Roman Abramovich deep pockets scenario."

Bose, author of Manchester United books, has far too much to say on this issue. After having a go at the DIC deal, implying Liverpool were making a mistake to enter into it, he now seems to suggest the mistake is Liverpool not entering into it.

At least Bose speaks about it though. Liverpool need to explain in a lot more detail just what has gone on.

Continue reading LFC mention DIC deal collapse – briefly and belatedly.

Investment: Has Moores really had the club’s best interests at heart?

Sameer Al Ansari's full statement this afternoon expressed a real sense of sorrow that his consortium felt they had been forced to pull out of the move to buy Liverpool FC. Ansari is executive chairman and chief executive officer of DIC and he is well known to be a Liverpool supporter. He said this afternoon: "We are very disappointed to be making this announcement. DIC is a serious investor with considerable resources at its disposal. At the same time, we are supporters – of the game and of the club. Liverpool's investment requirements have been well publicised and, after a huge amount of work, we proposed a deal that would provide the club with the funds it needs, both on and off the pitch."

Ansari went on: "We were also prepared to offer shareholders a significant premium on the market price of the shares. However, we will not overpay for assets. Liverpool is the most successful football club in English football history. It exists to win things for its supporters. It deserves to be in the hands of people who support it, who understand its history and legend and who share the enthusiasm and passion of its fans."

He continued: "As businessmen, we move on. As fans, we hope that the new owners would share the same vision as we had for LFC and, of course, in realising the new stadium that is so badly needed to ensure the club can continue to compete at the highest level in the Premiership and Europe. I am sure I will be back at Anfield with my family soon to support my team, as I have done so in the last 30-plus years. In the meantime, I wish the manager, the players and everyone connected with the club the best of fortune for the challenges ahead and will make sure that I am there the day they lift the Premiership trophy."

As ever in these situations rumours are spreading like wildfire, but it seems that DIC's actual offer, after going through due diligence, was actually slightly lower than the offer they had originally indicated they would be making. The Liverpool books showed there to be some assets valued more highly by Liverpool than by DIC. That's where Ansari's comment seems to come from where he says, "We will not overpay for assets".

Moores has been painted, certainly by the local press, as only being concerned about the good of the club, the extra £8million he'd get from Gillett's offer being unimportant to him. There are now hints though that Moores wasn't quite the person he is being made out to be, and he'd actually gone to DIC demanding more money or the deal was off. When Gillett came in with his bigger offer, suddenly Moores was more interested in that than in the deal that seemed – on the face of it – much better for the club. 

The local press are used by the club to leak information when needed, and it seemed odd today that Chris Bascombe, the usual journalist dealing with Liverpool matters, wasn't the one with the "exclusive" on the Liverpool board's decision to take the Gillett deal seriously. Dave Prentice wrote the article instead, and he's the Echo's Everton correspondent. Bascombe had not been writing any articles for the paper for the past few days, but had returned to write an article relating to the transfer window activities going on today. Was Bascombe disappointed in the news and refusing to leak something Liverpool had asked him to leak? Of course it could all be a coincidence, but it seems unlikely that Bascombe would be going home from work early on transfer deadline day.

It does seem though that the LFC press office have gone home from work early though. This takeover deal is quite possibly the biggest piece of news regarding the club since Everton decided to move out of Anfield back in 1892. Yet one-and-a-half hours after the news of the pull-out was broken on Sky there’s still no word from Anfield. It’s not the fault of the press office, as they will be desperate to release a statement I’m sure, which points the responsibility back towards the chairman again.

The club are certain to release a statement soon, in fact under stock-market regulations they may well be legally obliged to do so, but it does feel like the supporters are being let down by their club today, being forced to find information out from rumours and unofficial sources. It may well turn out that Moores has got the club's best interests at heart and as his top priority, but as things stand, that does seem to be quite doubtful at the moment.

Continue reading Investment: Has Moores really had the club’s best interests at heart?

Paper chase holding up Mascherano deal

Javier Mascherano's move to Anfield is now being held up by missing paperwork! The FA have yet to receive any paperwork from Liverpool for the proposed loan deal, although it's probably understandable that the club's officials are quite busy right now, in light of DIC's decision to bale out of the move to buy the club.

The Premier League need to get hold of the Mascherano paperwork before midnight, but it seems the problem is down to who actually owns the player. At the time of his transfer from Corinthians to West Ham, there were some concerns raised about him actually being owned by investment firm MSI rather than by West Ham. It now seems that Liverpool are waiting to find out just who it is that officially owns the player and holds his registration. Once they receive this, the deal can go through.

There is still no official confirmation that the move to bring Deportivo La Coruna's defender Alvaro Arbeloa to the club for £2.6m has gone through. Also expected to sign today is Spanish youngster Francis Duran, who will be signing from Malaga for a nominal fee.

24-year-old Arbeloa, is able to play at right-back or as a centre-back.

Rafa Benitez earlier confirmed Liverpool's hopes to have the three players signed by the end of the day. He said of Duran: "We will know more news about this deal later this afternoon, but we are hopeful there will be no problem, Francis is an 18 year old, from Malaga. We're waiting on Arbeloa and Mascherano."

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DIC CEO: “Disappointed” to pull out of Reds bid

The big news this afternoon from Anfield is not transfer related, instead it is all about the investment. The Dubai consortium announced they were pulling out of the takeover bid for the club.

Samir Al Ansari, CEO of Dubai International Capital, released the following statement: “We are very disappointed to be making this announcement this afternoon. DIC are a serious investor with considerable resources. At the same time we are supporters of the game, and of the club. Liverpool’s investment requirements have been well publicised and after a huge amount of work we proposed a deal that would provide the club with the funds it needs both on and off the pitch. We were also prepared to offer shareholders a significant premium on the market price of the shares, however we will not overpay for assets.”

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DIC pull out of Liverpool takeover

Dubai International Capital (DIC) have pulled out of the Liverpool FC takeover bid.

A statement from DIC read: "Dubai International Capital LLC today announces that it has decided to end negotiations with Liverpool FC & Athletic Grounds plc about a possible investment in the club. Having completed due diligence, DIC submitted a comprehensive offer to the Liverpool board. The offer had been accepted in principle by majority shareholder David Moores. It appears that the Liverpool board and the majority shareholder David Moores were unable to approve these terms in order to allow DIC to make a formal offer to all shareholders."

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Moores torn between Gillett and DIC offers

George Gillett's bid to take over Liverpool Football Club is being taken very seriously indeed, according to reports today.

At first it was felt that Gillett's attempts to buy out the club had come too late, after DIC had been given permission before Christmas to exclusively look at the club's accounts. But as soon as the period of exclusivity was over, Gillett was also given permission to look at the books – and completed due diligence in just three days.

One major concern for the board and for the fans was that Gillett was rumoured to favour a shared stadium with neighbours Everton – but he's said to have denied this, instead agreeing to personally underwrite the funding for the new stadium on Stanley Park.

The report, in the Liverpool Echo, says that as recently as 48 hours ago the club chairman David Moores was still 100% committed to the takeover proposals by DIC. But pressure from "minor shareholders" – almost certainly Granada – forced him to have a look at the proposals from Gillett.

Moores would be better off financially if he accepted the bid from Gillett rather than the one from DIC, but his main concern remains to ensure the club is passed into the best hands possible. The Echo say that Moores was impressed with the speed with which Gillett carried out his due diligence, when compared to the slower pace from DIC, who took a month to look at the books and still haven't actually put a formal offer in. Last night's board meeting in London was called to vote on the DIC proposals, but documentation was still not in place.

With the new stadium's building desperately needing to begin in March, Moores will need to make up his mind quickly – and is expected to do so by the end of the week.

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Premier League holding up Mascherano move

Liverpool's move to sign Javier Mascherano has been given the green light to go ahead by FIFA, but now the Reds are waiting on the Premier League to agree to the move too.

FIFA actually informed the clubs of their decision late yesterday afternoon, but the Premier League are still to let Liverpool know if they are happy with the arrangements. A spokesman for the club said: "FIFA have confirmed the player is entitled to play for Liverpool. However, the move from West Ham still needs to be ratified by the Premier League and we await their decision."

The transfer window closes at midnight tonight, but with the player said to have already undergone the medical and to have agreed personal terms the only stumbling block now seems to be whether or not the Premier League are capable of making a decision in time. From the Premier League's point of view there don't seem to be any grounds for them to prevent the deal going through, which makes any delays unnecessary.

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Reds get green light from FIFA for Mascherano

FIFA have given Liverpool permission to sign Argentinean international Javier Mascherano from West Ham.

The midfielder was bought by West Ham at the start of the English season but barely featured as then manager Alan Pardew did not feel he was right for their club. New boss Alan Curbishley was no different in his views, but Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez sees the potential in signing him. Rafa sees him as the same type of player as Xabi Alonso, who is actually now suspended for the Newcastle game after picking up a booking at West Ham last night. The manager also feels that Mascherano will find it easier to settle in at Anfield thanks to the number of Spanish speakers.

Under FIFA rules a player can only play for two clubs in the period from July to July, and Mascherano had played in Brazil just before signing for the Hammers. FIFA received an appeal from Liverpool pointing out that precedents existed where players had played for more than two clubs in that time frame, and also that it was a restraint of trade. More to the point, a talented player's career was suffering due to politics at his club and FIFA rules that were meant to protect players, not punish them.

FIFA said: "The FIFA single judge ruled that Javier Mascherano is eligible to play in official matches with Liverpool with immediate effect."

Mascherano is believed to have already undergone a medical earlier in the month as well as agreeing his own personal terms prior to Liverpool making their appeal to FIFA.

The deal will be an initial 18-month loan after which Liverpool will have an option to make the deal permanent.

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Liverpool FC takeover deal hits more uncertainty

Various reports overnight have claimed Liverpool FC's board held a meeting in London last night, ahead of the win over West Ham. That does seem to have happened, but the details of what was discussed and decided are the subject of speculation.

The reports all claim that the DIC takeover was discussed and that Liverpool have decided not to accept that bid just yet. George Gillett's eleventh-hour increased bid for the club seems to have left Liverpool's board unsure which bid to accept.

Although it’s a subtle difference, Liverpool haven’t rejected the DIC bid, they’ve just not agreed to accept it – yet.

David Moores is the man with all the cards in this deal, and his 51.6% shareholding is what is up for sale. He wants what is best for the club, not what is best for his own pocket, and perhaps Gillett has given Moores some assurances alongside the £500-a-share extra he's outbid DIC by.

Liverpool fans do not, in the main, want to ground-share with their neighbours Everton. Gillett was rumoured to favour such a move, which would have scared Moores off straight away. Liverpool want to build their own stadium, but the takeover needs to be complete very soon if that's going to go to plan.

DIC left Anfield with all of their due diligence data in hand around Christmas, but have still not formally made that offer to buy Moore's shares. This delay has given Montreal Canadiens owner Gillett a chance to persuade the board that his offer is one to seriously consider.

Liverpool's board do need to seriously consider Gillett's offer, alongside DIC's offer, and choose what they feel is the best option overall for the club and its shareholders. They are expected to make their decision by the end of this week, and of course there is still room for both bidders to further improve their offers by then.

This isn't the first time a story has been leaked regarding the DIC bid. One newspaper allegedly got hold of a "confidential" document from DIC where they detailed their plans for the next seven years. This included listing what their options would be after that length of time, and included the possibility of selling the club – amongst other options. The sensationalist story implied that this was a certainty rather than a possibility. Later reports showed that the leaked document was rather different in its wording from the article by the departing journalist.

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