Transfer Talk: Mascherano ready to make a quick exit from Anfield

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The Independent Online

Liverpool have left Javier Mascherano out of their squad to play Borussia Monchengladbach tomorrow, a sign that the midfielder's desire to be out of Anfield will be granted rapidly, possibly as early as next week.

Liverpool's thoughts are already turning to possible replacements for the Argentina captain, with the Juventus Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen and Steven Defour of Standard Liège believed to be among the players the club is considering. It is understood that their manager, Roy Hodgson, will have the Argentine international Maxi Rodriquez in his squad to face the Germans tomorrow lunchtime, possibly a sign that he wants to retain him.

The Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta has confirmed Anfield's interest in 30-year-old Poulsen, who was left out of the Italian side as they beat Shamrock Rovers 2-0 in Europa League qualifying on Thursday.

"Liverpool have shown interest in Poulsen," Marotta confirmed. Poulsen finally established himself in Turin last season after an unconvincing first campaign following his arrival from Seville.

Defour's representatives told The Independent yesterday that there had been no contact from Liverpool, though the club's interest in the player is known. The 22-year-old is also appreciated by Sir Alex Ferguson, who took the unusual step last season of writing to him to wish him a quick recovery from a broken foot.

Mascherano cannot leave quickly enough but Inter will only be able to lay out the likely £25m Liverpool will demand when they have concluded their own business. There was still no sign of imminent progress late last night in the deal to take Mario Balotelli to Manchester City, with both price and personal terms impediments. Suggestions from the player's agent that the deal has been done are inaccurate. However, City are still hopeful of signing the 19-year-old, while Maicon is expected to depart to Real Madrid.

The Midfielder Lucas Leiva believes he did enough as Liverpool captain in the Europa League third qualifying round first-leg tie away to Rabotnicki in Macedonia on Thursday night to retain the position for the second leg, with Hodgson likely to be able to rest his England internationals, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher again after the Anfield club won 2-0.

Everton

The LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan has expressed a desire to return to Goodison Park. The US international spent four months on loan with the Toffees last season. "I would love to go back," the 28-year-old midfielder said. "I love the people and the fans there."

Lazio

The Serie A club have signed Manchester City's Javier Garrido, two days after selling Aleksandar Kolarov to the Premier League side. "He was our first choice", club president Claudio Lotito said of the left-back. Nacional midfielder Alvaro Gonzalez has also made the move to Rome.

Wigan Athletic

The club have completed the signing of FC Twente defender Ronnie Stam. "He has taken the chance with both hands," the Twente chairman, Joop Munsterman, said of the 26-year-old. Meanwhile, the Latics' midfielder Charles N'Zogbia will be allowed to leave the DW for the right amount.

Hull City

The midfielder George Boateng, who left the Tigers following their relegation from the Premier League last season, has signed a two-year contract with Greek side Skoda Xanthi. The move for the 34-year-old Dutchman marks the end of his 12-year stint in English football.

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