The Daily Mirror reports that Valencia playmaker Juan Mata could fit the bill for Liverpool, if they cannot agree a deal for Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing.
Valencia have quoted Liverpool at £20m for Mata after the Reds made a formal enquiry about the services of the Spaniard. Mata impressed at the under 21 European Championships and is only 23, three years younger than Downing. The Valencia playmaker has great promise and talent, which Reds manager Kenny Dalglish could be interested in if Villa refuse to budge from their £20m valuation for Downing.
Mata could be inclined to stay at the Mestalla with Valencia in the Champions League next season and Mata contracted until 2015. However, the promise of English football and the potential that Liverpool seem to be showing this summer.
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Second Downing bid rejected.
Liverpool have had a second bid rejected by Aston Villa for midfielder Stewart Downing, Sky Sports reports.
Downing is set for showdown talks with the Villa board after discovering the £15m bid the Reds placed was swiftly rejected by Villa chairman Randy Lerner. Liverpool had earlier placed a £12m for the 26 year old, but Villa refused to lower their reported £20m valuation and have rejected both bids from the Reds.
Reds manager Kenny Dalglish rates the England international highly, but with two years left on his current Villa contract, Dalglish is hoping that Downing’s valuation will be lowered slightly. New Villa manager Alex McLeish is concerned about losing out on both his star wingers this season after Ashley Young’s transfer to Manchester United.
The former Middlesbrough man is prepared to hand in a formal transfer request at Villa Park in order to speed up the process of the deal to take him to Anfield.
Gerrard disappointed at tour miss.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he is disappointed to miss out on the club’s Far East tour, but the decision was made correctly for the player, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The Reds announced that their captain will not travel with the first team squad for their tour and Gerrard will continue his return from groin surgery back in England. The 31 year old returned to Melwood on Monday for pre-season training, but has yet to kick a ball competitively since Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United on the 6th of March.
Gerrard expects to be fit for the opening day fixture against Sunderland at Anfield on the 22nd of August. He said: ‘After sitting down and talking with the medical experts and technical staff, it’s been decided that the best course of action is for me to continue my rehabilitation programme at Melwood. It’s disappointing I won’t be with them, but I’m sure the lads who go out there will put a great show on for our fans’.
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