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Liverpool FC deal for Serbian international Milan Jovanovic is still on

Milan JovanovicMilan Jovanovic

LIVERPOOL are committed to wrapping up a deal for Milan Jovanovic as they begin the process of rebuilding after the Rafa Benitez era.

The Serbian international has long been on the Reds’ radar and Benitez had laid the groundwork for bringing the versatile striker – he can also play on the left side of midfield – to Anfield on a Bosman this summer.

Terms on a three-year deal were initially agreed with Jovanovic in February and he also passed a stringent medical in London in April – now all that remains for him to become a Liverpool player is the formality of completing a work permit.

Liverpool officials are “confident” that will be wrapped up shortly but the fact that no deal has yet been signed means there is still a possibility that the player could yet decide not to pursue a move to Anfield.

Jovanovic is understood to have expressed some concerns about Benitez’s departure from the Anfield hot seat as one of the reasons he indicated his desire to leave Standard Liege was to work with Benitez.

It must also be stressed, however, that he is overwhelmed by the idea of playing for Liverpool and, on a number of occasions, the 29-year-old has said how he is looking forward to the fact he “will now never walk alone”.

Inevitably, he will have questions to ask regarding what the future holds for the club but Liverpool remain optimistic that they will be in a position to officially announce his arrival in the near future, possibly before the World Cup starts.

As someone who scored 69 times in 146 appearances for Standard Liege – one was a penalty that knocked Everton out of the Europa League in October 2008 – Jovanovic will be an important addition to a squad that lacked striking options last season.

The hunt for Benitez’s successor, meanwhile, will not have a time scale, despite speculation intensifying and the odds plummeting around a number of names in the betting market.

Mark Hughes and Martin O’Neill, for instance, have been heavily linked in different areas, as has Fulham manager Roy Hodgson; the latter remains the early favourite at this stage, as he ticks a number of the boxes that the board are looking for.

No formal approach has been made to Fulham for Hodgson as yet and the Europa League finalists would not welcome a move for their manager, who has a £2.5m release clause in his 12-month rolling contract at Craven Cottage.


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