8/04/2009

Real Madrid closes in on Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso


United States' Freddy Adu (R) falls down past Spain's Xabi Alonso as they fight for the ball during their international friendly soccer match at the Sardinero stadium in Santander June 4, 2008.

MADRID, Aug. 4 -- Liverpool is nearing an agreement to sell Spain international midfielder Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, the English club's managing director Christian Purslow confirmed on Monday.

Purslow met with Real Madrid representatives and discuss the question Sunday when he went with Liverpool to Barcelona in a friendly against Espanyol.

However, he insisted that the meeting did not mean the transfer saga, which has been dragging on for several weeks, would be resolved in the near future.

"This meeting has only served to put our positions on the table. We need to continue talking," he told Spanish sports paper Diario AS.

The main problem seem to be Real Madrid's unwillingness to meet Liverpool's valuation of Alonso, a Spain international and a key part of the team that finished last season second in the English Premier League.

Press sources say that Liverpool wants around 40 million euros for Alonso, while Real Madrid is unwilling to offer over 25 million. The player has handed in an official transfer request to his current club.

Purslow said that Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez had given his OK to the deal, but denied many of the stories that have appeared in both England and Spain in recent weeks.

"Rafa (Benitez) arranged this knowing what was coming. It was important that we know. So far, most of what is being said is a lie. We were negotiating through the press. It makes no sense," he said.

Meanwhile Alonso admitted he was pleased that progress was at last being made.

"It's reassuring to know that Madrid and Liverpool are talking seriously now. I decided a long time ago to stay on the margin of everything that was happening.

"My stance has been clear, as you all know. I'm a professional and I must wait for an agreement to be reached, but I hope it is resolved soon, for better or for worse," he said.


Liverpool's Xabi Alonso warms up during a training session at the club's Melwood training complex in Liverpool, northern England, November 25, 2008.
(Xinhua)

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