Barcelona thwarted as Baros stock soars

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The Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, revealed that his club have been put off making an immediate bid for Liverpool's Milan Baros, although he did not rule out a future move for the striker.

The Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, revealed that his club have been put off making an immediate bid for Liverpool's Milan Baros, although he did not rule out a future move for the striker.

Baros's agent had earlier claimed that the Catalan giants were "truly interested" in the Czech Republic forward but Laporta was keen to quell rumours of an imminent offer.

The 22-year-old was the top scorer at Euro 2004 with five goals, and Laporta told the Spanish sports daily Marca: "Baros had a great tournament, and all great players have a chance of playing for Barça. But not this season. The high price makes signing him very difficult."

Liverpool are believed to want £10m for the player. Earlier, Marca reported that Barça and Liverpool had agreed a four-year deal in principle to take Baros to the Nou Camp, and the player's agent Pavel Paska told reporters of Barça's interest.

Markus Babbel, though, is definitely on his way out of Anfield. Babbel says his love for Liverpool forced him to move back home to Germany. The defender had a medical in Stuttgart yesterday after the two clubs agreed terms.

Babbel said: "I didn't want to play for another English club because Liverpool is so special and going anywhere else would not be the same. For this reason I feel it's best to go back to my own country and play for a good club like Stuttgart."

The 31-year-old returned to Anfield at the end of last season when his loan spell at Blackburn came to an end.

Another player who could also be leaving is El-Hadji Diouf. The Senegalese international has not been assigned a squad number. He wore the No 9 shirt but that has now been allocated to the new signing Djibril Cissé.

Elsewhere, the Birmingham City manager, Steve Bruce, is prepared to play a waiting game with Marcio Amoroso after the Brazil striker suffered an injury in training.

Amoroso is currently on trial with City and was set to play in today's pre-season friendly at Cheltenham Town before travelling to Germany for the club's tour. But the 30-year-old former Udinese, Parma and Borussia Dortmund forward has picked up a calf injury and will have to wait until the club return from Germany to impress Bruce

"Marcio was coming over to this country and he was looking for somewhere to get a pre-season in and play," Bruce said. "I know his agent very well and it was decided that we'd have a look to see what he's like and he'd have a look at us."

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