According to Sky Sports, Schalke 04 were claiming today that they had been given the green light from Liverpool over a loan move for Milan Baros.
The Czech Republic striker has been unhappy at Anfield for some time, and after being omitted from all of Liverpool’s early Champions League games this season it was obvious Liverpool were ready to move him out.
The Reds reportedly wanted £7million for the forward, top scorer in the last European Championships, but Schalke claimed over the weekend that the asking price was out of their reach – for now.
Baros had reportedly agreed terms with the German side already, who were due to speak to Anfield officials about the loan idea. Their general manager, Rudi Assauer, said: “We have not yet spoken about all the figures yet but we want Baros for a year on loan and at the same time an option to buy for 2006.”
For Liverpool to agree to this there must be caution involved. Baros will be down to the last year of his deal by the time a year has passed, and his valuation will drop substantially. If the reports are true then Ralf Rangnick, the Schalke coach, will have seen his dreams come true. He said: "We have agreed everything with Baros and his agent. He’s top of my wish list. He’s fast and a goal threat.”
The speculation surrounding Michael Owen has increased further today, with Manchester United’s chief executive claiming that Alex Ferguson will be given money to spend if he asks for it. Journalists based in Spain are claiming that Owen is ready to move to Old Trafford. For Owen to move to Old Trafford would, as we said yesterday, prove his desperation at escaping from Real Madrid.
Paul Ince announced his retirement from football today, and he knows full well what it’s like to play for the two North West rivals. Ince is despised nowadays by the Old Trafford faithfull, and certainly can’t class himself as a popular figure on Merseyside – many fans were never happy with him during his Liverpool days and every mistake was blown out of proportion. All of this because he was an "ex-Manc". Owen would face a similar situation if he decided to get in bed with the devils.
Arsene Wenger claims that Arsenal like the player, but have no intention of making a move for him.
Rafa Benitez is hoping to tie up two more deals this week – for a central defender and a right-winger.
Luis Figo’s move to Anfield seems to be Rafa’s first choice, but this move is being held up by Real’s reluctance to pay him a severance fee. Benitez doesn’t want to hang around, and in light of this a move for Bolton’s Stelios Giannakopoulos has been back into the rumour mill.
The Greek international, now aged 30, is in talks with Bolton but admits that Liverpool have been showing interest. He now just wants the whole situation to be resolved. Stelios told the Manchester Evening News: "I hope it will have a happy end so that I can relax. The earlier you finish these situations the better it is for the player and for the fans. They keep asking ’Is Stelios staying or going?’ and I don’t know the answer. I am very happy here. You can see that from the football I play. I expect things will get rolling again and the gaffer or the chairman will speak about the situation and bring an end to the story. The stories about Liverpool were not speculation. It was a true situation. Liverpool wanted me and maybe they still want me. I have to know."