Liverpool will have transfer funds in January, but a move for Theo Walcott is played down


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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said funds will be available in January to strengthen his squad, although played down the mounting speculation that he will be making a move for Arsenal winger Theo Walcott.

Rodgers also dismissed talk that Joe Cole will be moved out of the club in a bid to reduce the wage bill at Anfield.

Walcott has emerged as an ideal candidate for Liverpool, with the England winger's contract due to expire at the end of the season. Arsene Wenger said yesterday that the contract impasse must be decided "one way or another" by Christmas, suggesting that the 23-year-old will be sold in January if he has not put pen to paper at the Emirates.

Walcott is eager to be used as an out-and-out striker, a wish that Liverpool would be able to accommodate considering their threadbare options in attack. But Rodgers was in no mood to stoke the rumours today.

"There is nothing to say (about Walcott). He is an Arsenal player and it is all speculation about many players at the moment," he said.

Arrivals in January do appear likely, but acquiring their desired targets may not be simple. Liverpool missed out on a number of players earmarked to arrive at Anfield in the summer, including Clint Dempsey who eventually joined Tottenham.

"We'll have funds and I'm in talks with the owners at the moment, along with our recruitment team.

"January is always a difficult window. You don't get too many top, top players.

"Clubs will be unwilling to move on players but we have to scour the country and the world to try to get the types of players that are going to be available and correct for our model of play.

"Obviously we are limited in what we can bring both in terms of availability of players and financially but there is no doubt we need to do that."

Rodgers says Liverpool are doing all they can and is optimistic deals can be done.

"Our scouting team are working hard to identify those talents and who might be available.

"There is no doubt we need that support (from new players) in January and I am very confident we will be able to do that."

There has been speculation that some players will be moved on, particularly Cole, who Rodgers was outspokenly critical of after his dismal display in the Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea during the week. Rodgers made reference to Cole's exorbitant wages - understood to be around £100,000-a-week - leading to suggestions that getting the former England international off the wage bill would be in Liverpool's thinking. Stewart Downing and, to some extent, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique have found themselves on the fringes this season as well. But Rodgers today said he was more concerned about adding to his squad rather than depleting it further.

"Joe is like every other player. I've have good communication with Joe and we speak regularly," he said.

"He along with the other players are working hard to find their way into the team and Joe is like everyone else.

"But for us my concentration is purely on the squad we have.

"We know we need to reinforce the group, so that's something that is ongoing.

"The priority is to get players into the building. Our squad is very small, very thin on the ground, and the players have performed admirably up until now.

"At this moment in time it really is about reinforcing the group rather than looking too much at people going the other way."

Liverpool play Newcastle this weekend, a club that has worked wonders in the transfer market over recent seasons with players of the quality of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse joining the Magpies. It serves as a timely reminder that the transfer market needn't be as torturous as it has seemed at Anfield in recent times.