Saturday, July 31, 2010

Inter Set To Bid For Mascherano

INTER MILAN are poised to make an official bid for want-away Liverpool star Javier Mascherano as Roy Hodgson lines up the ­candidates to succeed him.
European champions Inter will table an opening gambit of about £20 million for Argentina captain and midfielder Mascherano, who is set to be omitted from Hodgson’s squad who head to Germany for tomorrow’s friendly with Borussia Moenchgladbach.
Sporting director Marco Branca will make the offer in the next few days and Hodgson is already preparing for a parting by adding Standard Liege skipper Steven Defour and Juventus’s Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen to his list of potential replacements for Mascherano.
Poulsen, 30, was left out of Juve’s Europa League qualifying win over Shamrock Rovers on Thursday. General director Giuseppe Marotta confirmed interest from Anfield but added: “The fact that he did not play in this game [against Shamrock] was only due to a technical decision.”
Hodgson knows Poulsen well, having managed him at FC Copenhagen between 2000 and 2001 when the player was a key figure in the team that won the Danish title for the first time in eight years.
Liverpool were also set to send a delegation to watch Defour in Standard’s Belgian league game with Zulte-Waregem last night and run the rule over both he and team-mate Axel Witsel.
Belgium midfielder Defour, 22, has been tracked by a host of English clubs, including Manchester United and Aston Villa, over the past two years without anyone willing as yet to make the £10m gamble to acquire his services. He is still not 100 per cent fit after missing most of last season with a broken leg.
Hodgson is also keen on Scott Parker, although Tottenham have already had a £7.3m bid rejected for West Ham’s captain, who is said to want to remain in London.
Brazilian Lucas, meanwhile, believes he can prove to Hodgson that he is equipped to fill the void set to be created by Mascherano’s impending departure to team up again with Rafa Benitez.

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