Monday 11 December 2017

Rodgers to unveil 'exciting' signing as Reds keeptight lid on funds

Luke Edwards

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admitted yesterday that he does not have a "wheelbarrow load" of money to spend in the transfer window.

However, Rodgers, who opted out of the chase for new Spurs midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson as he refused to pay over the odds to meet the players' wage demands, said an "exciting" deal could be completed in the next few days.

Real Madrid's technically gifted 25-year-old midfielder Esteban Granero appears to fit the bill for the style of play which Rodgers wants to bring to the club and there was speculation last night that the Spaniard would be soon on his way to Anfield.

"We don't have a wheelbarrow load of money -- there is not the money flying about people think there is," said the Northern Irishman, who stressed any new arrival will have to have the right character as well as technical ability.

"There certainly won't be as many (signings) as is being labelled out there," he added. "There have been a whole raft of players being linked but only a few are real targets for us.

"Hopefully we can close out one deal this week which will be a real exciting one for the club -- one the supporters will absolutely love.

"We want to work with the great players we have here and make three or four tweaks in relation to the squad that can help the group.

"We want to be competitive in every game and challenging at the top end of the table."

Rodgers stamped his authority on the job early on when he refused to meet Sigurdsson's wage demands. A transfer deal had been agreed with his former club, Swansea, where Rodgers had worked with the 22-year-old player for the second half of last season. That has put down a marker for any new potential signings.

Rodgers knows exactly what type of player he wants. "This is a club which is a way of life. It is not just a club where you turn up for two hours' training and then go away," added the 39-year-old.

"You have to be prepared to come into the culture and philosophy of the club. I want players that are hungry to succeed and want to match the ambitions of how we want to move forward and the reality of that is there are very few players who can match that.

"One of the things which distorts the reality of football is money. I don't see the sense of a player coming in if we have to pay over the odds for him.

"There are many good players out there but not many who have the courage and bravery to play the way we want to play."

Rodgers is still assessing the strength of his squad, made more difficult as some players involved in Euro 2012 have yet to return, before deciding who stays and who goes.

Midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who was on loan at Milan last season having had a temporary spell at Juventus the campaign before, has returned to Merseyside with his future unclear. "I've had a good chat with Alberto the other day," said Rodgers. "It hasn't really worked out for him as of yet but he has the qualities in terms of technical and tactical ability to play.

Rodgers was speaking ahead of Liverpool's US tour for matches against FC Toronto, Roma and Tottenham.

They will train at Harvard for some of the time, prompting Rodgers to recall an old Harvard friend who had said the secret of success is being "ruthlessly simple".

It was something that had always stayed with him, Rodgers said -- though simplicity will be more challenging for him under the pressure he will encounter next.

"I will make mistakes along the way but I will fight for my life to make sure we improve," Rodgers reflected. "We are football coaches, not magicians."

Irish Independent

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