Sport Soccer

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Dalglish welcomes Adam into Reds family

Jamie Holland

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is confident new signing Charlie Adam can have the same impact at Anfield as he did at Blackpool.

Having finally landed a player he first tired to sign six months ago, Dalglish is looking forward to the 25-year-old reproducing the kind of displays -- scoring 13 goals -- which made him a stand-out performer for the Seasiders last season.

"We're delighted our patience has paid off," said Dalglish. "We tried to sign Charlie back in January. Blackpool wanted to keep him, which is understandable because they were trying to maintain their status in the Premier League.

"Our interest never went away. Both the club and Charlie have been patient, and then Blackpool's circumstances changed because they were relegated.

"We're looking forward to Charlie being a success here. He made a huge contribution to Blackpool's team last year and we're looking forward to him making the same contribution here.

"We know what he's got and that's why he was such a success last year in the Premier League."

Portuguese international Raul Meireles is not expected to join the club on their pre-season tour of China and Malaysia, for which they depart tomorrow.

Liverpool are prepared to listen to offers for the Portuguese, a £13.7m signing less than a year ago, despite an impressive first campaign in England, as he is one of the Anfield side's few valuable -- but expendable -- assets.

Though Internazionale's interest is thought to have cooled, Fiorentina and Juventus are both monitoring his situation, and his omission from the travelling party suggests the club expect imminent movement.

Off the pitch, John Henry, Liverpool's principal owner, has admitted the club may have to abolish plans to refurbish Anfield and move to a new stadium if they are to have any hope of generating the commercial revenues required to match Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

On the day City announced their unique £400m tie-in with the airline Etihad to rebrand the City of Manchester Stadium and much of its surrounding area, Henry outlined on Twitter the dilemma facing Liverpool as they race to keep up.

"(Remaining at) Anfield would certainly be our first choice," wrote the 61-year-old. "But realities may dictate otherwise. So many obstacles..."

facilities

Those obstacles -- the city council's preference for relocation to the long-awaited stadium at Stanley Park, the need to close down huge portions of Anfield if rebuilding work were to take place, the ground's lack of corporate facilities and the lack of space in which to expand -- mean Fenway Sports Group, the club's parent company, are now leaning away from their original intention to revamp Liverpool's present home.

Henry and his group successfully managed to refurbish Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise that FSG also own.

They must make a decision before September -- when planning permission on the site earmarked for Liverpool's new home on nearby Stanley Park expires -- on whether to build a new ground.

The club insist no decision has yet been made, but it is believed FSG's ability to attract a naming-rights partner to offset building costs and boost revenues in the face of UEFA's looming Financial Fair Play legislation will prove crucial.

Standard Chartered, the club's shirt sponsor, are thought to be one of a number of companies provisionally and informally sounded out over such a deal.

Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook, meanwhile, insisted that the club will maintain a "very open dialogue" with UEFA over their attempts to comply with incoming Financial Fair Play regulations after announcing the naming-rights deal with Etihad Airways.

The agreement, which is due to run until 2021 and will see Eastlands renamed the Etihad Stadium, is the largest single agreement struck by a football club and could see up to £40m a year ploughed into City's finances by the Abu Dhabi government-owned airline.

With the agreement further strengthening City's portfolio of Abu Dhabi-based commercial partners -- the club have five sponsorship agreements with Abu Dhabi companies -- the market value of the naming-rights deal will be scrutinised closely by UEFA, however, to ensure that the club are not benefiting from inflated rates as a result of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's position in the Emirate.

The substantial investment into the deal is an upgrade of the current shirt sponsorship agreement -- worth just £3.2m a year when struck in 2009 -- and a substantial investment into the area surrounding the stadium in east Manchester, which includes Sport City, retail outlets, car parks and a proposed new academy and sports science facility.

That area will come under the umbrella of the Etihad Campus and, with infrastructure development exempt from FFP regulations, the wide-ranging make-up of City's deal with Etihad leaves UEFA with no obvious benchmark to measure against when reviewing the club's lucrative agreement.

Barcelona secured a five-year shirt deal worth £125m with the Qatar Foundation earlier this year, while Manchester United are expected to replace their £302.9m kit deal with Nike -- struck in 2002 -- with a deal in excess of £500m in the next year.

In contrast, City have reached their impressive figure by packaging the stadium name together with shirt space and surrounding real estate.

Meanwhile, City's first-team squad flew to Los Angeles for pre-season preparations yesterday, with several out-of-favour players left at home by manager Roberto Mancini.

Shay Given, who is the subject of interest from Aston Villa, remained in Manchester, along with Craig Bellamy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge and Jo, who is a loan target for CSKA Moscow.

Irish Independent

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