Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Benayoun to Liverpool, Nugent to Portsmouth; Baines to Everton?

According to the agent of Israeli midfielder and captain Yossi Benayoun, Liverpool and West Ham have agreed to an $8 million US fee that would send Benayoun to Liverpool. It is the second high-profile deal between the clubs this week (Bellamy to West Ham). Benayoun is just 27 years old and played as an attacking midfielder for West Ham, though Liverpool sees him as the perfect replacement for Luis Garcia, who left the club for Atletico Madrid. His acquisition seems to signal Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez's intention to reinforce the outside midfield positions this year. The move further strengthens a midfield that is probably the best in all of England, with Xabi Alonso, Gerrard, Harry Kewell, Jermaine Pennant, Javier Mascherano, and Mohamed Sissoko already signed through at least this season.

Former England U-21 striker David Nugent is reportedly set to sign for Portsmouth on Wednesday, according to BBC Radio Lancashire. Nugent has starred for Championship side Preston North End since 2005, scoring 33 goals in 94 appearances for the club, but the 22-year old has been seeking a move to a Premiership team and Portsmouth is a team where he would be able to play a lot of games and contribute at a high level. Sol Campbell has been pleading with management all summer for additions at the striker position with the departure of Svetoslav Todorov and the controversy surrounding Kanu and his return to the club, and this signing could be just what Portsmouth needs to contend for a European spot this season. The deal is rumored to be worth $12 million US with Nugent then having to agree to personal terms and pass a physical.

Updated Wednesday, July 11: Nugent's transfer has been confirmed and completed as he passed a physical and signed a four-year contract with Portsmouth, keeping him on the South Coast through the 2010-2011 season.

Another former England U-21 player, Wigan defender Leighton Baines, could also be on the move within the coming days. Wigan has rejected multiple offers from Sunderland but now Everton is lining up a $9 million US bid to bring Baines to Merseyside. New Wigan manager Chris Hutchings said that Baines would be part of his club next season:

"I have told (Sunderland boss) Roy Keane that Leighton is not for sale. He is part of this club.

"Every player does have a price but I am happy to keep him here as I am building a team."

With this being said, if Everton can match the price at which Wigan rates him, I would expect a transfer to be completed. At only 22 years of age, he's already been a part of Wigan's first team for five seasons, and he is still a young talent growing into his tremendous potential. Baines will only be looking to play for a bigger club in the future anyway, and I think Wigan would be wise to sell him if they can get full value so they can bring in more players to address their multiple needs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michael Nugent? I'd rathe rpay to see Ted Nugent!!! Rock on!!!!!