Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool arrange talks with Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers

By Ian Herbert

Liverpool will hold talks with the Swansea City manager, Brendan Rodgers, this week as they seek to make progress on the challenging issue of replacing Kenny Dalglish.

The Anfield club have always retained a belief that the 39-year-old from Carnlough, Co Antrim would be open to another approach, having initially turned them down on the grounds that being one of multiple prospective Liverpool managers might cause him damage at Swansea, were he not selected.

Rodgers was in New York last night to see Wales play Mexico at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, though this was a trip planned with his wife two months ago and not a way of meeting Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's American owners.

With the Wigan Athletic manager, Roberto Martinez, intending to make his intentions clear by taking the unusual step of calling a press conference at his club's ground tomorrow, an opportunity may be opening up for Rodgers. But Liverpool's approach could not have come at a worse time.

Swansea have just agreed a £7m fee for Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim – by far the biggest transfer fee the club have paid. There would be dismay from the club's chairman Huw Jenkins if, having persuaded Swansea to pay out that figure, Rodgers then decided go. If personal terms are agreed with Sigurdsson and the deal goes through, there would be pressure on Rodgers to stay and Jenkins is likely to make it difficult for him to go. Rodgers would simply have to request to leave, saying Swansea no longer match his ambitions. That was how Martinez departed Swansea for Wigan three years ago and it proved to be a bitter separation.

Rodgers headed to the US after spending several days at Spain's Euro 2012 camp in Austria, as Vincente del Bosque's guest, watching their training methods. Also in the frame is Louis van Gaal, though it remains unclear whether his arrival would be in the capacity of sporting director.

Martinez met Liverpool's owners in Miami last Thursday to discuss the managerial vacancy and left still undecided whether to accept the challenge. The Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan, clouded the picture by suggesting that his manager had received an offer from Liverpool's principal owner John Henry. Liverpool reject that.

The Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has already pledged his full support to Martinez should he get the job. Gerrard was a big supporter of Dalglish but cautiously welcomed the idea of Martinez taking charge. "We'll have to wait and see," said the midfielder. "I'm aware Roberto Martinez has been talking to the club but all I've heard about him is positive. If he is going to be the manager, he's got my full support."

Whelan said: "[Roberto Martinez] went to Miami and had a very constructive meeting with the owner of Liverpool. They're going to talk again on Tuesday. They've made Roberto an offer and he has agreed to consider it. He's said, 'What are my responsibilities?'

"These are American owners and the rules and regulations are a bit different from what we English set down. Roberto is a seven-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day worker and I don't know whether they realise how hard he works. I know he won't move anywhere unless he is fully in charge of the football.

"I think he'll give it fair consideration. Hopefully, he stays with us but, wherever he goes, he's 100 per cent dedicated to that football club."

The Wigan captain Gary Caldwell said: "If the opportunity comes to go to Liverpool, you take it. We all understand that. I'm sure he would take it. He has what it takes to manage a club such as Liverpool. If that big job comes now then he has to go and show he is good enough."

Belfast Telegraph


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