Friday 23 March 2018

Liverpool to battle with Chelsea for Barca star as Benteke set to discuss personal terms

Liverpool are ready to go head-to-head with Chelsea for the signature of Barcelona star Pedro.

The 27-year-old winger has a £22 million release clause in his contract and has admitted it could be time to leave the Catalan giants.

Chelsea have been monitoring his situation and were thought to be leading the race, but now Sport claims that Premier League rivals Liverpool could look to use some of the £49 million they received for Raheem Sterling on the Spain international.

The Metro adds that the only problem Brendan Rodgers may have is convincing Pedro to opt for Anfield.

Pedro recently admitted his lack of game time at Barcelona was a source of frustration and that he had sought the lowering of his release clause.

“It’s true that we decided to lower my buyout clause and that there are offers,” he said. “I’m in a difficult situation at Barcelona, but I don’t want to reveal anything.

“All I’m interested in is getting down to work on Wednesday with my team-mates and then we’ll see.

"You want more game-time, more chances and to be first-choice. I know that being at Barça is like nowhere else. I’ve won lots of titles and that fills me with satisfaction and joy, but you have that ambition to continue improving and to play.”

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique wants Pedto to stay put but admits he could be powerless to stop him walking away.

"I don't want any player to leave the squad. That is the case with Pedro. My wish is that Pedro stays, but there are circumstances in his contract and I will respect his opinion [if he wants to leave].

"I never cheat my players and they know that I am not going to promise minutes to anyone. I hope Pedro stays, though."

The Reds have made a £32.5million bid to trigger the release clause of Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.

Press Association Sport understands chief executive Ian Ayre, in Australia with the Reds' first-team squad for the second leg of the club's pre-season tour, has formally submitted their offer.

He will now continue discussions with Villa over the finer details of the deal but Liverpool are hopeful of a swift conclusion to enable the Belgium international to join up with Brendan Rodgers' side as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, The Mirror believes it would free up striker Rickie Lambert to leave Anfield for West Brom.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis is thought to have made a move for the former England star.

Liverpool and Lambert are likely to make a decision after the club's pre-season tour, but West Brom lead the chase for the 33-year-old.

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