Liverpool are considering signing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes at the end of the season. The Spanish international has been with the Catalans since 2002 and has been first choice since the start of the 2003 season.
The Mirror reports contract talks between the 30-year-old and his club have stalled and with his deal set to expire in 18 months, the runaway La Liga leaders may be persuaded to sell Valdes in the summer rather than risk losing him for free 12 months down the line. The report indicates an offer of £16m could be enough for the Nou Camp club.
Discussions over an extension for Valdes are believed to have broken down after the player demanded parity with the other stars at the Nou Camp, including Spain midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.
Liverpool's interest in Valdes comes after news their No 1, Pepe Reina (also a Spain international) has been interesting Premier League rivals Arsenal. It is understood Arsene Wenger wants the 31-year-old Madrid-born Reina to provide competition for his present No 1, Poland's Wojciech Szczesny. Goal.com's report also links the Gunners to Swansea City stopper Michel Vorm.
Meanwhile, the Mirror also speculates on champions Manchester City's interest in Valdes. However, Roberto Mancini has 25-year-old Joe Hart at the Etihad and the England No 1 is unlikely to give up his position at the club without a fight.
The Reds have also been linked with 19-year-old Birmingham City keeper Jack Butland, with the St Andrew's club's acting chairman, Peter Pannu, confirming the Anfield club's interest.
Lucas: Criticism Doesn't Bother Suarez
Brendan Rodgers takes Liverpool to Old Trafford this Sunday, to face arch-rivals and Premier League leaders Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson's side lead the table by seven points and kick off before second-placed City visit Arsenal.
Key to Rodgers' hopes of a good result from this game will be Uruguay international Luis Suarez, the club's top scorer with 15 goals and three assists from 20 games this season. The 25-year-old has come in for considerable criticism this season, on charges relating to racism and unsportsmanlike conduct, the most recent being a handball-aided goal in the FA Cup third round fixture at Mansfield Town.
Suarez's team-mate, Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva, has spoken out in support of his fellow South American.
"I don't think it will bother him [Suarez]. He's too strong to worry about it. He gets it at every stadium, so this is just one more for him. He copes very well with it and if people still criticise him for everything, he keeps on scoring goals. It's not nice to see a player, a friend, get that amount of abuse but that's the way it is. But he's showing his quality on the pitch - and that's the most important thing. It doesn't seem to worry him too much. If it did, it would have affected him on the pitch," Leiva said.