Europe move looms as Schalke join Villa in race to sign Baros

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The Independent Football

The 23-year-old was back on the sidelines on Tuesday as Rafael Benitez's team maintained their Champions' League defence against FBK Kaunas in Lithuania, having come to accept that his career at Anfield is drawing to a close.

Liverpool, who added Peter Crouch to their forward line last week, have given permission to the striker's agent to explore interest around Europe, with Deportivo La Coruña providing hope of a move to Spain after an abortive attempt by Valencia earlier this summer.

Baros refuses to be rushed by Liverpool into a decision about his future. But his agent, Pavel Paska, said: "I have had a meeting with Schalke manager Rudi Assauer. The name Baros has been noted. Schalke are one of the interested clubs."

Aston Villa remain in the running for the leading goalscorer at Euro 2004 but have been told they must improve their £5m offer by £2m before Liverpool will sanction a deal.

Liverpool's Spanish midfielder, Antonio Nuñez, has confirmed that he will sign a three-year deal with the newly promoted Primera Liga side Celta Vigo.

Nuñez, 26, joined Liverpool from Real Madrid in August last year as a make-weight in the £8m deal that took the England striker Michael Owen in the opposite direction.

He injured knee ligaments during his first training session at the club and, despite scoring in the Carling Cup Final defeat by Chelsea, he struggled to make any impact at Anfield.