Liverpool keeper conundrum: Valdes deal off? Casilla or Neto in?
Liverpool (outsiders at 33/1 to win the Champions League) have reportedly turned their attention from free agent Victor Valdes to Espanyol star, and third-choice Spain stopper, Kiko Casilla, in their quest for a new keeper.
Brendan Rodgers is said to have put negotiations with the former Barcelona La Masia academy product on ice, after Valdes was rumoured to have refused to take part in a trial to prove his fitness.
Liverpool are believed to be unwilling to risk a move for the 32-year-old three-time Champions League winner, who has been sidelined with a serious knee injury.
Although a deal is still possible, it appears to be hanging in the balance, with speculation that the 20-capped Spain stopper may lower his wage demands in order to smooth things over.
Rodgers’ Reds are rumoured to already have alternative options up their sleeve, however, with Casilla supposedly number one on the wishlist. The Spaniard has conceded 10 goals in eight games for Barcelona-based side Espanyol this term, but has also managed to keep three clean sheets.
Casilla, 28, is yet to earn a senior cap for his country, but has represented Catalonia four times. If Rodgers cannot convince the La Liga side to part with their highly-rated shot-stopper, however, they may turn to Fiorentina keeper Norberto Neto.
The 25-year-old Brazilian is a key player for Viola, but is yet to sign a new contract, with his current deal set to expire next summer, which could force the Serie A side’s hand. Speaking recently, Neto said: “I am not thinking about the renewal. I’m just concentrating on my work and being in good form. The club would like me to renew straight away but we haven’t reached an agreement yet.”
This news will encourage the Anfield outfit, who are believed to have prioritised acquiring competition between the posts for current number one Simon Mignolet. The Belgian has suffered a significant dip in form since the end of last season, and has come in for criticism several times already this term, as Liverpool have haemorrhaged 16 goals in his last 11 appearances.
Recent links to Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas and Manchester City’s Joe Hart have gone cold, with both under-pressure stars retaining their spots between the sticks, to temporarily end speculation,. Rodgers is reportedly keen to recruit as soon as possible, which could open the door to the Premier League for one of these two under-the-radar stoppers