That Was The Week That Was
In the week when Liverpool kicked their campaign off with a solid 1-0 win away to Stoke; stories emerged of Mario Balotelli’s terrible behaviour since his arrival at the club, including scoring an own goal in a training match; and Jose Enrique complained that he, Balotelli and Fabio Borini had been excluded from life at Melwood as Brendan Rodgers attempts to persuade them to move on to pastures new, Liverpool have been linked with all sorts of people in the tabloid newspapers. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to dirty yourself by looking through the rags for the latest bits of news! No, we’ve done it for you.
The Rumours & News
Keita Balde Diao
News has emerged this week that Keita Balde Diao is due to have talks with Lazio’s President Claudio Lotito about his future. The 20 year old handed in a transfer request earlier in the week amid news of interest from both Liverpool and Inter Milan. Now TalkSport are reporting that Lotito will attempt the young prodigy to stay by offering him a lucrative new deal.
Keita joined Lazio in 2011 after he decided to leave Barcelona in order to further his footballing education. He made his first team debut in September of 2013 and has made 30 appearances for the Italian club, scoring 6 goals.
TalkSport claims that Rodgers is keen to bring the Senegalese striker to Anfield in the hope of bolstering his attacking options, but we’re not sure that’s even remotely likely. Rodgers has Benteke as his number one striker, Sturridge due to return from injury at any moment and Ings and Origi as his young options off the bench. Take this with a full slab of salt.
For the first week in too long the club has not been linked with a move for Paris St. Germain’s left back Lucas Digne. That doesn’t stop old stories resurfacing as the transfer window starts to come to its crucial moment, though, and the latest one from The Express is the news that Liverpool are ready to make a move for Aymen Abdennour. Again.
The Monaco defender’s agent has said that he wants to move abroad and that has reportedly piqued the interest of both Liverpool and Arsenal. Juventus have also been linked with a move for the Tunisian with his agent saying, “Abdennour wants to leave. He wants a new adventure, and there are opportunities in Spain, Italy and England”.
We’re not totally sure where the Liverpool interest has come from, given that his own agent was quoted as saying, “The priority would be Serie A, he would like that a lot”. It seems it’s a bit of a case of the player’s agent saying he’s available, Liverpool needing defensive back up and The Express putting 2 and 2 together to make 7.
Back to TalkSport and this time it’s Juan Iturbe who is meant to be the subject of interest from both Liverpool and Arsenal. The 22 year old Argentine has had no pressure whatsoever put on his shoulders having been labeled ‘the new Lionel Messi’ and is also on the radar of Fiorentina.
Despite being considered as a prodigious talent in Europe, Iturbe failed to impress during his first season with Roma. Despite this Fiorentina have reportedly offered £10 million for his services, with Roma rejecting the offer in the hope of starting something of a bidding war between his prospective suitors.
A pacey and tricky young striker, it’s easy to see why Rodgers might be interested in the forward. Arsenal are also keen and are arguably in more dire need of a adding a striker to their books. Iturbe’s representatives are also keen for him to move on from the Stadio Olympico after his playing chances have become somewhat limited under Rudi Garcia.
The Metro, an ever reliable source of information about the Reds, have reported that Liverpool are free to sign Thiago Motta from Paris St. Germain after his proposed move to Atletico Madrid was near to collapse.
Liverpool have signed seven players so far this summer but rumours have emerged on Merseyside of a rift emerging between Brendan Rodgers and Lucas Leiva. His possible departure would leave the Reds short of a defensive midfielder and the experienced Motta could fill that space.
The 32 year old was on the verge of completing a move back to the side managed by Diego Simone only for the deal to hit a snag. With PSG willing to let the former Inter Milan midfielder leave after four years with the club, Rodgers could dip back in to the market to secure his signature.
The Reds are still keen to shift some deadwood this summer, with Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini high on the list of candidates for the chop. The Liverpool Echo reckon that Borini could be on his way out of the club on a season long loan back to Sunderland. The Italian spent the 2013-2014 season on loan at The Stadium Of Light and the Black Cats are keen to take him back this time around. It seemed as though he’d be on his way to Fiorentina given that he turned down a chance to re-join Sunderland last summer when Liverpool accepted a £14 million offer for his services, but now betting has been suspended on him returning to the North East.
Local journalist Simon Hughes, meanwhile, has been writing about Balotelli’s career coming somewhat unstuck on Merseyside. Numerous problems have reportedly taken place during his time at the club, including an incident that happened at training. Hughes wrote in The Independent, “Balotelli scored a jaw-dropping goal from near the halfway line. Witnesses stood open-mouthed: first-team players shook their heads in disbelief, youngsters smirked nervously at the brilliance in front of them. One problem: the goal was at the wrong end”. It seems Super Mario is on borrowed time at Anfield.
Finally Inside Futbol are suggesting that Lucas Leiva could be on his way to Milan, with both AC and Inter interested in his services. The 28 year old made just 16 appearances last season and has apparently fallen out with Brendan Rodgers this summer. A move to Serie A could better suit his style given he has lost a few yards of pace after picking up an injury in the 2013-2014 season.