Liverpool have reportedly opened informal talks with Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso's agent and are contemplating a move to bring the player back to Anfield in the summer.
The Daily Star reports the player has rejected an extension on his current contract, which expires in 2014, and is open to make a return to Liverpool, a club where he spent five seasons before joining Real in 2009. However, the deal hinges on Liverpool's ability to offer the Spaniard a lucrative contract, better than the £80,000-a-week salary plus bonuses he is currently earning in Madrid. The La Liga club are reportedly ready to increase Alonso's pay, in order to persuade him to stay, but the midfielder has his heart set on jumping ship at the end of the season.
Alonso is a widely revered figure across Merseyside, with the player playing an important role in helping Liverpool win the Champions League in his first season at the club. The Reds are expected to face competition from the likes of MLS giants LA Galaxy and big-spending Russians Anzhi Makhachkala who are also interested in securing the player's services. A move to either of the two clubs will guarantee a massive pay rise and a chance to get away from the vigours of top flight football.
However, a return to Anfield is very much on the cards, with the player recently stating in an interview that he is still a Liverpool fan and is still "really attached" to the club and their fans. Moreover, a move to the cash rich leagues is likely to jeopardise his chances of travelling to the FIFA World Cup, scheduled in Brazil next year.
Sturridge Hails Rodgers
Liverpool January signing Daniel Sturridge has hailed Brendan Rodgers for giving him a chance to shine with Liverpool. The striker has had an instant impact with the Reds, scoring five goals in nine appearances and got himself back in contention in the England squad for the qualifiers.
"I'm very grateful - very grateful to the manager for giving me an opportunity. I was at Man City before Chelsea and everything was fine there, in fairness. I didn't have any problems, everything worked out, but I chose to leave because I didn't feel it was the best place for me to further my career," Sturridge told Liverpool Echo.
"I moved on to Chelsea and had success. We won trophies and I have medals but in terms of my own individual ambitions, I didn't get to fulfil them. Hopefully here, now I'm at a club that believes in me with a manager who believes in me, I can give the fans something to smile about," he added.