Liverpool want £12m for Fowler

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The Independent Football

Liverpool will seek £12m for Robbie Fowler, but the total cost of signing the Anfield outcast is likely to be nearer £20m. Despite denials of further trouble between Fowler and management, Liverpool are willing to cash in on the out-of-favour striker if the price is right.

Fowler, who will be on the bench again tonight for the Champions' League match against Borussia Dortmund, is also aware that now might be the time to leave as he faces the prospect of being third choice behind Michael Owen and Emile Heskey. The Blackburn Rovers manager, Graeme Souness, has already acknowledged his interest, though he admits that being able to afford the England international would be quite another matter.

Chelsea and even Newcastle United are also waiting in the wings to make offers, but Lazio, who have also been linked, are in the process of signing Enrico Chiesa from Fiorentina instead. The total cost of taking Fowler away from Anfield will also include his wages, which will start at around £40,000-a-week over a four, or possibly five-year period. Only the very rich will be able to enter the race for his signature, but Fowler's reputation as one of this country's most natural goalscorers will guarantee that there are plenty of takers.

Significantly the word from the Fowler camp – for the first time – is that he could soon be on the move.

The row has to come to a head soon as Liverpool know that Fowler will be able to leave for nothing in July 2003, the same financial disaster they suffered with Steve McManaman. Therefore, the price will be at its peak now and can only drop drastically over the next few months.

Nuno Gomes has ruled out a move to Liverpool and insists that he wants to remain with Fiorentina. The Portuguese striker had previously hinted that he wanted to join Gérard Houllier's team, and the Liverpool manager in turn confirmed his interest.

However, yesterday Gomes said: "I want to remain a 'Viola' player. We have gone through many difficult situations, but this squad has touched me. If I ever had to leave, I would remain in Italy or play in Portugal." Gomes joined Fiorentina from Benfica last summer and scored nine goals in his first season, establishing a productive partnership with Chiesa.

Rui Costa, Francesco Toldo and Tomas Repka (the latter joined West Ham for £5.5m) have had to be sold to keep the cash-strapped club afloat but remaining debts mean that it could yet be wound up this week. Fiorentina will play the Ukrainian side, Dnepr, in the first leg of their Uefa Cup first-round match tomorrow.

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