Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers link to Liverpool fades as Sigurdsson joins Swansea

By Sam Wallace

Brendan Rodgers returned from his trip to New York yesterday morning with Liverpool's American owners yet to make any official approach to Swansea City to speak to their manager.

The Swansea manager triggered a wave of reports on Sunday that he was to meet with the Fenway Sports Group during the weekend over the vacant manager's job at Liverpool. However, as reported in The Independent yesterday, the trip had been planned long before the end of the Premier League season and there was no contact between Rodgers and FSG while he was in America.

Rodgers, along with his wife, was a guest of the Football Association of Wales for their friendly against Mexico in the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. He flew back to London yesterday around the time Swansea revealed they had received no official approach from Liverpool, or any other club, to speak to Rodgers.

The club only made passing mention of Rodgers' situation at the end of a statement announcing the permanent signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim for £6.8m, the club's record signing by some considerable margin. The signing of Sigurdsson, who made a major impact on loan last season, is the fulfilment of a long-held ambition by Rodgers.

On the subject of Rodgers, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said: "We would like to clarify the speculation in the press surrounding our manager Brendan Rodgers. We would like to confirm that there has been no contact from Liverpool and nothing has changed since our previous statement on the issue."

Rodgers had previously declined a request by FSG and Liverpool to attend an interview at the club 11 days ago. FSG are still hopeful that they can holds talks with Rodgers this week in order to gauge his interest in succeeding Kenny Dalglish.

Given the lengths that Swansea have gone to land Sigurdsson on Rodgers' behalf, the immediate signs point to the club being confident that they are planning for the long term with Rodgers. The Swansea manager is now represented by the League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan whose standing among the managerial fraternity has resulted in many of them consulting him over contract issues.

Roberto Martinez remains the only Premier League manager to whom FSG have been given permission to speak and his chairman at Wigan Athletic, Dave Whelan, said yesterday that he wanted their situation resolved by Thursday this week. Whelan said that Liverpool planned to speak to Martinez again today, following their original meetings in Miami last Thursday.

Whelan was quoted by ESPN yesterday as saying: "I have now made it clear that I want this sorted out by Thursday at the latest as we have to get on preparing for next season."

The former Netherlands coach, Louis Van Gaal, remains a strong contender for the manager's role – as well as that of technical director – and it would appear that FSG are not in a position to make firm offers to either Martinez or Rodgers.

Whelan has also accused FSG of "not knowing" who they want to appoint as manager, which would appear to be the case given the painfully slow process the Americans have been through in identifying their target. They have consulted with a number of figures in English football on an informal basis but, having parted company with technical director Damien Comolli previously, do not have a figurehead of any experience to lead the search.

Belfast Telegraph


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