- Xabi Alonso can be added to the list of names Arsene Wenger came close to signing at Arsenal, but ultimately missed out on. The Gunners boss has often spoken down the years of how he was in the market for a number of top talents, only to see them head elsewhere or for interest t...
Another star to have slipped Wenger's net at Arsenal - Alonso reveals Gunners interest while at LiverpoolXabi Alonso can be added to the list of names Arsene Wenger came close to signing at Arsenal, but ultimately missed out on. The Gunners boss has often spoken down the years of how he was in the market for a number of top talents, only to see them head elsewhere or for interest to be shelved. Wenger: Suarez wanted to join Arsenal It has now been revealed that the Frenchman was eager to add ball-playing midfielder Alonso to his ranks while the Spaniard was at Liverpool. With Reds looking to move out a man who would go on to win 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship honours with Spain, Arsenal joined the chase. They were, however, reluctant to meet the asking price of a Premier League rival and Alonso eventually ended up signing for La Liga giants Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo about his time at Anfield, Alonso said: “I was really close to Juventus and I was close to Arsenal. Arsenal and Bayern fined by UEFA “But, it was just £3m. Liverpool were asking £18m and both offered £15m – so that’s why it didn’t happen." Alonso formed part of Liverpool’s remarkable Champions League triumph in 2005 during his time in England, before going on to enjoy further domestic and European success in Madrid. League titles have also been snapped up in Germany with Bayern Munich, but the 35-year-old has announced that he is to slip into retirement at the end of the current campaign. Alonso added: “I have been lucky enough to be at great clubs from my hometown club to Liverpool to Real Madrid to Bayern Munich. Pep: Alonso one of the best ever “For me, I’ve played for the best team in England, the best team in Spain and the best team in Germany. That’s what I wanted to have - a nice career. I’ve played with great players and worked with great managers, I’ve learned a lot from all of them. “I’ve been lucky but I have earned that luck. I’ve been in the right place at the right moment a few times. I would never have dreamed to have had such a nice career as this. I like football and this is like a nice football journey.”
- Arsene Wenger is “convinced” that Luis Suarez wanted to join Arsenal a year before leaving Liverpool for Barcelona. The Gunners famously lodged a bid of £40,000,001 for the Uruguayan in the summer of 2013 in an effort to trigger a release clause. Messi and Suarez in toilet admi...Arsene Wenger is “convinced” that Luis Suarez wanted to join Arsenal a year before leaving Liverpool for Barcelona. The Gunners famously lodged a bid of £40,000,001 for the Uruguayan in the summer of 2013 in an effort to trigger a release clause. Messi and Suarez in toilet admission Liverpool, though, remained unmoved and refused to enter into negotiations with a Premier League rival. Suarez, though, was eager to make the switch, with the South American looking for a way out of Anfield on the back of a biting incident involving Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. He was eventually convinced to stay put and after enjoying a standout 2013/14 campaign, in which he was named PFA Player of the Year, a big-money transfer was completed to La Liga giants Barcelona. Wenger, though, insists that Suarez could just as easily have been turning on the style at the Emirates as Camp Nou. Iwobi: Wenger deserves more respect He told beIN Sports: “He was very close [to signing for Arsenal]. We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him. “I'm convinced he wanted to join us and then they sold him. They kept him one more year, improved his contract and promised to sell him the year later to a club abroad." Suarez had been involved in another biting saga by the time he left England for Catalonia – at the 2014 World Cup – but Wenger feels the 30-year-old frontman deserves credit for having put the troubles of his past behind him and focused on becoming a world-class talent. He added: “It's not normal. You cannot accept that. He had some behaviours that were shocking but I think as well you don't see them anymore since two, three years. Arsenal's top five teenage stars “He got rid of all the things that were a handicap for him and today you don't see that anymore. He's still on borderline with what the strikers do well, you know, go down in the penalty box but you want that from an intelligent striker. “Overall I think he got rid of all the rest and rightly so and he deserved to be punished before and now you don't even expect it anymore from him."
- Philippe Coutinho is considered to be a natural successor to Andres Iniesta at Barcelona by former Liverpool forward Luis Garcia. The Brazilian has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou, with his creative ability making him a natural target for a club that prides itself on...Philippe Coutinho is considered to be a natural successor to Andres Iniesta at Barcelona by former Liverpool forward Luis Garcia. The Brazilian has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou, with his creative ability making him a natural target for a club that prides itself on a ball-playing philosophy. Current Barca star Neymar has also been quick to talk up such a move, with that stance reiterated during a recent quizzing on his fellow countryman. Klopp: Coutinho lacking consistency For now, though, Coutinho is committed to the long-term contract he signed at Anfield in January. Luis Garcia believes staying put is the right decision, but a man who moved in the opposite direction during his playing days feels a role could open up in Catalonia once an iconic playmaker steps aside. The 2005 Champions League winner told talkSPORT: "It is not the first time he has been linked to Barcelona and it would be a tough call for him, but hopefully he decides to stay at Liverpool. "Coutinho is a very important player for Liverpool and, as a former player from both teams and the love I have for both of them, I would like to see Coutinho for a few more years in a red shirt. "Coutinho is still a very young player. Iniesta is maybe going to be in the first team for two of three more years and with the quality and technique that Coutinho has got it would be a brilliant time for the team [for him to join]." 'Coutinho has lost his magic' Barca’s interest in Coutinho intensified after seeing the 24-year-old make a bright start to the 2016-17 campaign. An untimely injury halted his progress and he is still searching for that level of consistency since returning from an ankle complaint. He has, however, managed seven goals in all competitions for Liverpool and remains a key figure in Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
- Neymar would like to see Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho join him at Barcelona, expressing belief that the Liverpool attacker would "totally fit" in at Camp Nou. WATCH: Podolski's thunderbolt v England Coutinho has scored six Premier League goals for Liverpool this season, w...Neymar would like to see Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho join him at Barcelona, expressing belief that the Liverpool attacker would "totally fit" in at Camp Nou. WATCH: Podolski's thunderbolt v England Coutinho has scored six Premier League goals for Liverpool this season, while he and Neymar have combined to fire Brazil to the top of South America's World Cup qualifying group. And now Neymar wants the pair to link up at club level, where he believes Coutinho could adapt seamlessly to Barca's style of play. "A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho," he told the Daily Mail. "I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona." Coutinho could have a tough time getting a game with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi also in the front-line at Camp Nou, while Neymar believes his own competitive edge works well with Barca's attacking pair. Arsenal's top teenage sensations "There is something funny, we all complete with each other somehow," he said. "I play on one side and I am right-footed. Messi plays at the right side and he is left-footed and then Suarez is our scorer. "So, I do believe we complete each other and we always try to help each other on the field. We have a very nice friendship outside and we bring it inside. It is easier when you like to work with your companions."
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to club stalwart Ronnie Moran as "the perfect role model". Moran, who enjoyed an incredible 49-year association with Liverpool as a player, coach, physio and caretaker manager, died on Wednesday, aged 83. He played as a left-back...Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to club stalwart Ronnie Moran as "the perfect role model". Moran, who enjoyed an incredible 49-year association with Liverpool as a player, coach, physio and caretaker manager, died on Wednesday, aged 83. He played as a left-back during Liverpool's First Division title wins under the great Bill Shankly in 1963-64 and 1965-66 before taking on coaching duties. In 1998, he retired as Liverpool's longest-serving employee and an iconic figure of the fabled Anfield Boot Room. Klopp met Moran at the club's Melwood training ground last year having been left in no doubt as to his stature within Liverpool's rich history. "It's a sad day. I had the honour of meeting him last year around the League Cup final," Klopp told Liverpool's official website after observing a minute's silence in Moran's honour with his players at their warm-weather training camp in Tenerife. "Obviously I am not from Liverpool, I am not from England, and so I needed a little bit of help but when I heard about this very special story then it was really nice to meet him. It was a big honour for me. "Today is a very sad day for all of us. All of our thoughts and all of our love are with the family. "We tried to pay our respects like a football club should do for a real member of the club, a real figure of the club, with a minute of silence. "It was impressive because the players were immediately in the mood; all of them have heard about him and that shows how special his relationship with this great club was." Klopp added: "You will not have this a lot of times. It's nice and it shows what a big value this is because it's so rare. Maybe more of us should try to be like him – and in him we had the perfect role model. Donnarumma crowned NxGn winner "I am sure nobody can, or will, forget him. It's a sad day, but on the other hand it is a day where everybody thinks about him and thinks about his very, very special story."