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Liverpool urged to make Malouda move

Liverpool urged to make Malouda move

Jun 9 2007

by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post

France international Florent Malouda

FLORENT MALOUDA is confident Lyon will finally give him the go-ahead to finalise his move to Liverpool – but has warned they may face competition for his signature from Chelsea.

The midfielder has revealed his admiration for Rafael Benitez, but also admitted he is yet to hear of a concrete offer from the Anfield manager.

Malouda is doing his best to play on the fact that his friend Didier Drogba spoke highly of him earlier in the week and encouraged Chelsea to go in for the 26-year-old. Arsenal have also been reported to be interested.

But Malouda, who signalled his intention to leave Lyon at the end of the season with four years of his current contract still to run, has still to make up his mind where he wants to go.

And he is encouraging any interested parties to prove their desire to sign him by bringing their money to their table.

“I have talked with Lyon officials. There are no offers yet, but it is true there has been direct contact,” said Malouda.

“Liverpool and Chelsea have shown interest butI don’t know how it will be finalised. But, in my mind, it is certain I will leave.

“At Chelsea, there is Didier Drogba and all the rest. But at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez is a great coach too, and the team has played in two Champions League finals in three years.

“To me, the most important thing will be the desire shown by the club. To move abroad, you really have to be wanted.

“I believe it will still need some time. But, if the deal is good for Lyon, I believe they won’t try to keep me.”

The French champions have been holding out for a fee of £10million but Liverpool will hope to negotiate to £8million in a bid to make the World Cup midfielder Rafael Benitez’s first summer signing.

The Liverpool manager is delighted to have secured a long-term deal for Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Xabi Alonso this week, with Momo Sissoko and Steve Finnan also set to agree extensions over the weekend.

But the Spaniard is now set to concentrate his efforts on making new additions to the squad, although raiding his homeland will have to wait until their domestic season finishes next weekend.

That leaves Malouda as the most likely first signing of the summer, while efforts to boost the forward line with a new striker could also accelerate as bidders line up for Craig Bellamy.

Liverpool’s best chance of raising a significant sum for the forward is likely to be if either West Ham or Aston Villa offer in the region of £9-10million.

Blackburn Rovers also want to take him back a year after selling to Liverpool, but are reluctant to pay more than the £6million that triggered his release clause last summer.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Danielle Padelli has returned to Sampdoria following the completion of an uninspiring loan-spell.

The Italy Under-21 international joined Liverpool in January as cover for Reina and Jerzy Dudek, making just one first-team appearance in the final Premiership game of the season, the 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic at Anfield.

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