Premier League – Papers: Liverpool target Hodgson

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has emerged as prime candidate to replace the departed Rafael Benitez at Liverpool, according to press reports.

The Guardian says the polyglot Englishman has overtaken Martin O’Neill as board favourite due to his vast European experience, which has seen him manage in Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Hodgson would cost the Reds £2.5m, a pre-determined release clause that would save them a few bob compared to Aston Villa’s O’Neill or any of the other contracted candidates (Frank Rijkaard of Galatasaray and Guus Hiddink of Turkey spring to mind).

Liverpool also like his ability to work on a tight budget (The Independent), while getting the best out of the likes of Bobby Zamora and Paul Konchesky bodes well for the underachievers at Anfield.

The Times claims that Hodgson, whose wife hails from the North West, wants to speak to Liverpool, but that Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed will hold firm for the £2.5m, in the hope that the skint Reds look to an out-of-work (i.e. free) option like Mark Hughes.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has thrown his name in the hat for the job too.

“I have been a Liverpool fan all of my life,” he told The Sun. “I never mentioned it when I was in charge of England because I didn’t think it was fair.”

Despite the clamour of groups of fans and ex-players, Kenny Dalglish is not likely to take the job himself, having been out of the management game for a decade and unable to cope with the pressure back when Liverpool were any good.

Chelsea will launch a £70 million summer raid for Fernando Torres, according to the Daily Mail, a bid Liverpool will find impossible to resist given their £351m debt.

Xabi Alonso, meanwhile, has called for Steven Gerrard to join him at Real Madrid.

The Spain midfielder wants his former Liverpool team-mate to reform their formidable partnership.

Alonso told Marca: “Steven is a legend at Liverpool and I have a lot of respect for Liverpool’s fans and also the club, but it is clear that he is an awesome player.”

A top-class, multi-lingual coach who has not been linked to Anfield is Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

But the Daily Star think he could be on his way – back to Japan, where he coached Grampus before joining Arsenal. The longest of long shots…

James Milner could still be set for a move to Manchester City, who will renew their interest after the World Cup (The Sun).

The England midfielder is understood to have had talks with Aston Villa boss O’Neill, and his £30m price tag will not put City off. Morocco international Mbark Boussoufa of Anderlecht would be a nifty replacement at £10m.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was criticised for raiding former club Swansea for Jason Scotland and he may indirectly do it again, although midfielder Leon Brittan is available as a free agent after his Swans contract expired this summer.

Portsmouth flop David Nugent could make the switch from one cash-troubled, blue-shirted club to another – although the Daily Star’s tip of European football at Rangers would come as a welcome relief to the one-time England striker.

Pompey team-mate Nadir Belhadj could also be on his way out of Fratton Park, with an Avram Grant reunion tipped at West Ham (Sun).

Birmingham City’s bid for Palermo forward Fabrizio Miccoli has been rejected (Times), while Belgium U21 keeper Simon Mignolet favours Sunderland as his next step, with PSV also looking to sign him from St Truidense.

Also in Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland’s agent has claimed interest from Tottenham, although it may not be the wisest move given how many options there are for boss Harry Redknapp.

Eurosport

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