Gerrard pledges future to Liverpool

Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool midfielder, has revealed that he is close to signing a new contract with the club.

"I have got two years left on my contract and I am sure I will sign a new contract very soon and stay at Liverpool," the 23-year-old said. "You can never say never about playing abroad, but I am well happy at Liverpool. I am enjoying my football at Anfield. Everyone knows that when you have got two years left it's make or break about whether you stay. I know that the club want me and I want them. I am sure it will get sorted out."

Pierre van Hooijdonk will begin talks with Birmingham City this week after a £600,000 fee was agreed with Feyenoord.

The veteran Dutchman is expected to sign a two-year deal before the end of the week. The former Nottingham Forest and Celtic striker has been a target for the Birmingham manager Steve Bruce for almost a year.

Philippe Mexès has said that he hopes to leave Auxerre and join Arsenal in a £3.5m move. The centre back has fallen out with the club that developed him and now hopes he can convince the the French Cup winners to allow him to leave.

Mexès said yesterday: "If it was up to me I would leave, but the club has me under contract. But I am disappointed with the directors. They wanted me to sign a contract and it was agreed that I would. My agent added a clause and the next day the directors told me to forget about it. There is no relationship or respect between us now."

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, has around £10m to spend and would sign Mexès at £3.5m, along with Leeds United's Harry Kewell for £4m, with the England Under-21 international Jermaine Pennant joining Leeds in part exchange.

The Auxerre defender Jean-Alain Boumsong has admitted to having contact with Liverpool and Marseille, but does not rule out a move elsewhere or even staying put.

Boumsong, who is with the France team preparing for the Confederations Cup, said he has been in touch with both clubs. The Cameroon-born defender said: "I would be lying if I said I had not [had contact], notably with Marseille and Liverpool. But perhaps I won't be going there. You can have hundreds of contacts but with no transfer at the end."

Asked if he felt he would still be with Auxerre next year, the 23-year-old replied: "I will start pre-season training with Auxerre if necessary. I am not staying by my phone. But things can still change."

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