Friday, May 1, 2009

Agger close to Agreeing a New Deal

DANIEL Agger is set to remove all the doubt surrounding his Liverpool future after he agreed terms on a new long term deal.

Fears had been mounting that the Danish defender would quit Anfield in the summer with a string of top European clubs interested in signing him.

AC Milan, Juventus and Barcelona were all believed to be ready to lead the chase for Agger’s signature had it become clear that he was ready to leave the five times European Champions he joined in 2006.

But in the last fortnight talks between Liverpool and Agger’s agent, Per Steffensen, have progressed considerably and there is now a deal on the table which the centre back and Reds boss Rafa Benitez are both happy with.

Steffensen travelled to Merseyside last week to step up negotiations which were held in the days before and after Liverpool’s League clash with Arsenal.

Both parties were pleased with the way that round of talks progressed and the discussions have now led to a major breakthrough which is likely to lead to Agger extending his three year stay with Liverpool.

Benitez would not confirm speculation but did admit things are going well enough for him to be hopeful a successful conclusion is imminent.

“The conversations have gone really well and we are very close,” said the Liverpool manager.

“Maybe in a few hours we will have a solution.”

Benitez is currently attempting to tie up several of his players to long term deals with Agger now set to join Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt in committing his future to the club. Verbal agreements have also been struck with promising youngsters Nabil El Zhar, Krisztian Nemeth, Peter Gulacsi and Nathan Ecclestone.

Veteran defender Sami Hyypia has also been offered an extension to his one year deal, due to expire this summer but the Finnish centre back is also being pursued by several other clubs and is considering his future.

Sunderland, Wolves, Newcastle and Stoke are all interested and all would be able to offer the 35-year-old more first team football than he is likely to play at Anfield.

Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano has admitted his future with Liverpool is not guaranteed even though he insists he is more than happy.

“I don’t know, we will see,” he said.

“The main thing for me now is to try to win the league and then we will have holidays which will give me a chance to think about what I am going to do.

“But I am good here. I cannot say anything bad about Liverpool as a city or as a club because both have been great with me.

“But obviously you never know what is going to happen because if someone comes in with a big offer for me and the club tells me I have to go then I will leave.”

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