Liverpool goalkeeping target Jose Reina is today quoted as saying he still wants a move to Anfield. According to the Liverpool Echo, the 28-year-old Villarreal player wants to work for Rafael Benitez. He told the paper: "Benitez is an excellent coach. It will be terrific to play alongside Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia. To come to the champions of Europe with the history of Liverpool is not easy, but I will answer these questions with a positive response."
Villarreal have just succeeded in gaining Champions League qualification, and Reina has mixed feelings about moving to England: "It will be a great boost to my career. My three seasons in Villarreal have been magnificent and I`m sad to leave. I know British stadiums from my time with Barcelona and Villarreal. The atmosphere is phenomenal and my first match at Anfield will be very emotional."
Reports this week had suggested that his move was hitting difficulties with interest from elsewhere.
Meanwhile Spanish publication AS reckons Liverpool will accept a deal of £30m plus three Real Madrid youngsters (Alvaro Arbeloa, Javi Garcia and Ruben de la Red) in return for the services of Steven Gerrard. Gerrard is on holiday in Ibiza at the moment, and the press are enjoying the chance to spend the whole of this summer linking him with a move away from Anfield. The Spanish press aren’t as notorious for making stories up as their British counterparts, but they could well be carrying out a service for Real in trying to once again unsettle Liverpool’s captain.
The three players mentioned are all in Real’s "B" team. Arbeloa is a centre-back, Garcia is a midfielder and de la Red is a striker.
Another Spanish publication, Marca, believe Gerrard’s agents will be crucial to the deal. SFX were involved in moving Michael Owen to Real Madrid, and also look after David Beckham and Jonathan Woodgate. SFX would stand to earn a lot more money if Gerrard were to sign for Real rather than extending his deal at Anfield – the same situation they had with Michael Owen.
As Liverpool’s transfer dealings continue in private, another possible move may now be off. Liverpool were reportedly hoping to sell Milan Baros, a player who’s been quoted many times as being unhappy with life under Benitez, to French champions Lyon.
Lyon are now managed by former Reds boss Gerard Houllier, and the stories claimed Baros would be moving to France in a deal that would see Lyon’s midfielder Michael Essien move the other way.
Now Baros’ agent (or at least one of them) says that the Czech Republic international striker doesn’t want to leave Liverpool. Dalibor Lacina is the agent in question, and he is quoted as saying: "Milan is now on holidays in the Czech Republic and he doesn’t think it would be good to leave Liverpool now. At Liverpool there is still a lot of euphoria after that unexpected Champions League triumph, and also the club has been awarded a place in next season’s Champions League. So Baros prefers to stay at Liverpool these days."
Baros needs to be careful if he is planning to stay at Anfield. One thing Liverpool fans don’t like is players that give the impression of being mercenaries or of not being fully committed. The comments attributed to Baros over the course of this season have done him no favours, and now his agent is giving the impression that Baros has only changed his mind because of the Champions League win. Baros needs to speak for himself, on British television, so that his true thoughts are known to the fans. Without this he’s likely to receive a lot of criticism next season.
The agent also said, "There are many calls from the Lyon representatives to our agency, but as I hinted that meeting would have been good for nothing at present. And also Milan is not under pressure to make a transfer as he still has one year certainly at Liverpool and as I know he wants to fight for his place in the squad."
Baros had earlier looked set to move to Spanish side Valencia, but Lacina says that the changes in those that control the club means Baros won’t be moving to La Mestalla. He said: "Valencia have changed the management, they also have a new coach. Anyway Baros is very expensive for them to buy so they have started searching for new players for somewhere else."