Red alert as Gerrard seeks Liverpool transfer
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard paved the
way for his Anfield departure on Tuesday by saying he wanted to leave
the European champions.
Almost six weeks after lifting the Champions League trophy in Istanbul
following a remarkable win over AC Milan, the England midfielder
rejected a contract offer in a move that will kick-start a transfer
bidding war among Europe's elite.
"The last six weeks have been the toughest of my life and it's the
hardest decision I have ever had to make," Gerrard said.
"I fully intended to sign a new contract after the Champions League
final, but the events of the last five or six weeks have changed all
"I have too much respect for the club and the people at it to get
involved in a slanging match."
Earlier, Liverpool said Gerrard had rejected an improved and extended
"We very much regret the decision he has taken," Liverpool said in a
The five-times European champions also said they had rejected a bid for
the 25-year-old from Premier League champions Chelsea.
Newspapers reported Chelsea had bid a British record 32 million pounds
($56.28 million) to prise the inspirational playmaker away from his
That would eclipse the 29.1 million pounds Manchester United paid to
Leeds United for England defender Rio Ferdinand in 2002. Real Madrid are
also rumoured to be interested in Gerrard.
Liverpool are reported to have responded to a breakdown in talks with
Gerrard over the weekend by offering him a two-year contract extension
to 2009 on 100,000 pounds a week.
Manager Rafael Benitez said on Monday he wanted the midfielder to stay
at Liverpool for the rest of his career and could even become the club's
Gerrard, who turned down an offer to join Chelsea last year, scored one
goal and made another against AC Milan as Liverpool rallied from 3-0
down to reach 3-3 and a penalty shootout victory after extra time in the
Champions League final.
Following the game he appeared to pledge his future to the club after
months of speculation that he could leave Merseyside.
"How can I leave after a night like this and all the nights this season?"
he said in Istanbul.
Liverpool are preparing to face Welsh part-timers TNS in their Champions
League first round qualifier on July 13.