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Liverpool Close In On £16m Starlet, Rieira’s Future In Doubt and Reina Signs Extension

Some potential new Anfield additions as one flop heads ever closer to the exit.

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Sports News - February 18, 2010

Palermo want to keep hold of star defender Simon Kjaer, despite the player admitting he would like to leave the club at the end of the season.

Kjaer has conceded he wants a move to one of the bigger clubs in European football – highlighting Premier League giants Liverpool as his preferred choice.

The 20-year-old – who joined Palermo just over two years ago – says he is seeking a new challenge in his career, but insisted any switch would have to be to an ‘attractive club’.

The central defender still has over two-and-a-half years left on his current deal at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, however the Dane is eager to finalise a transfer before he turns his attention to World Cup duties with his national side.

“England and the physical playing style would probably suit me better. In case the right offers come, it would be exciting to form a partnership with (Daniel) Agger (at Liverpool).”

Officials at the club are not as keen to let their prize stopper exit, though, with Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini saying he does not want coach Delio Rossi to lose key players in the close-season.

Palermo currently sit fourth in Serie A and are well positioned to secure a UEFA Champions League berth, a feat which Zamparini believes could persuade the likes of Kjaer to remain in Italy.

He said: “I hope that all can remain in Palermo and maybe if we go into the Champions League, (the) boys are more encouraged to stay.

“I want (Edinson) Cavani, Javier Pastore and Kjaer to remain here. Kjaer is much too an important player for us – I’d buy him again just to not make him go away.” (Sky Sports)

ALBERT RIERA is facing an uncertain Anfield future – as Pepe Reina agreed to extend his Liverpool FC career.

Riera has not even made the bench for the last two games after some under-par performances following his return from six weeks out with a hamstring problem in January.

With Yossi Benayoun again fit, the arrival of Maxi Rodriguez increasing competition and Ryan Babel back in favour, Riera has slipped down Rafael Benitez’s pecking order.

Having been strongly linked with a return to Spain last summer, the winger has been hampered by niggling injury and loss of form, and so far making only 15 appearances.

That lack of action threatening Riera’s place at this year’s World Cup, with the 27-year-old absent from the Spain squad for tonight’s glamour friendly in France.

And Riera will also have a fight to avoid being moved on from Anfield at the end of the season as Benitez looks to shake up his squad after an underwhelming campaign. (Daily Post)

One player going nowhere is Spanish compatriot Reina, who has agreed a new long-term deal at Liverpool that extends his commitment until 2015.

Talks between the club and the player’s advisors have been ongoing for some time and have now reached a successful conclusion.

Reina has proven a major success since his £6m arrival from Villarreal in the summer of 2005, and is on course to win his fourth Golden Gloves award for keeping the most clean sheets in a Premier League season.

The goalkeeper is expected to put pen to paper later this week after returning to Merseyside following Spain’s friendly with France. (Daily Post)

So lets begin at the beginning (obviously), Simon Kjaer is a committed young centre back with a great future ahead of him and I could see him being a very talented player in years to come and perhaps at Anfield he could be a good fit.

The fact that the 20 year old has come out and stated publicly his desire to join his international teammate Daniel Agger at Liverpool says a lot. Valued in the £16m bracket it would probably mean we would have to sell some more deadwood to come up with the cash (but more about that later). Kjaer has already shown what he can do in Serie A and he has the physical ability to make it in the Premier League. Yes we have Carragher, Skrtel and Agger but all three are over 25 and if funds can be made available then I would strongly suggest Rafa Benitez considers such a move.

Now onto some deadwood. Albert Riera looks like a player who’s Anfield career is hanging by a thread. In many ways I would say that the Spaniard deserves to be offloaded even more than Ryan Babel. At least the Dutchman has improved of late and has shown glimpses of class whereas Riera never seems to get it right.

He can be damn greedy on the ball and has a knack of playing the wrong ball when he does decide to lay the ball off to a teammate. I really can’t see 27 year old being at the club next season because he simply hasn’t delivered.

Onto some good news. Pepe Reina appears to have signed a new long term deal and that is fantastic. The Liverpool keeper is as solid as they come and hopefully now that he has committed himself to the club in the long term it will put off moves for the Spanish keeper from the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona, who are apparently both big admirers.

YNWA

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