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Thursday 14 December 2017

Liverpool declare interest in Barcelona's Montoya

Liverpool target Martin Montoya in action for Barcelona against Ajax
Liverpool target Martin Montoya in action for Barcelona against Ajax

Chris Bascombe and Luke Edwards

Liverpool have opened talks with Barcelona full-back Martin Montoya in the hope of securing a transfer in January.

The Spain U-21 international can play at left-back or right-back and is out of contract at the end of the season. He could leave the Nou Camp on a free transfer in the summer, but Liverpool are keen on a new year deal.

Montoya (22) is behind Daniel Alves in the pecking order at the Spanish champions and Liverpool are one of several clubs tracking him. Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre travelled to Barcelona this week in an effort to secure an earlier move.

Liverpool's hunt for a new full-back is well documented. Jose Enrique is injured until February and on-loan Valencia defender Aly Cissokho has already fallen out of favour following an unimpressive series of games.

Jon Flanagan was preferred for the Merseyside derby, but he is nominally a right-back.

Montoya is a product of the Barcelona youth system and has played at all levels for Spain, including the senior squad. His chances have been limited in recent years.

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has asked on-loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini to be patient following accusations from the player's agent he wants to return to Italy in January because of a lack of game-time.

Borini was Rodgers' first signing as Liverpool manager, joining for £10.5m from Roma, despite failing to make the grade at Chelsea. The 22-year-old joined Sunderland on loan to gain regular first-team football and, although he scored a spectacular winner in the derby with Newcastle United last month, he has started only twice in the Premier League.

"I can say that if Fabio's situation doesn't change in the next month, we could evaluate a return to Italy so that he can find the consistency he needs ahead of the World Cup", his agent Marco De Marchi said.

"Borini would absolutely love to take part in that tournament. Liverpool will not let go of the player definitively, so it would still be a loan spell. He is a modern striker, has an eye for goal and is appreciated by many in Italy and beyond."

That drew an irritable response from Poyet, who is unhappy to be told of the player's intention to leave through the media.

"To be honest I would like to talk to him, not the agents," he said. "That would be nice. He is very useful, he is a very important player for us.

"He played in that strange game against Hull and paid the price for the two sendings off as we changed things.

"He is a player who has been very unlucky, because if there is one player who should have got a little bit more from the manager, it is Fabio. But let's wait, there is a month to go until January and a lot of games.

"If I was him I'd be moaning, but he has got great character and we have got a very good relationship. Every player wants to play all the time, but I am sure he will play a lot." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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