Messi's man Martino set to fly in for Barcelona talks

The Argentine coach has cancelled his holidays and will travel to the Catalan capital for negotiations with the Spanish champions, who will replace Tito Vilanova this week

By Ben Hayward in Barcelona

Gerardo Martino is set to fly in for talks with Barcelona on Monday as the Catalans step up their search for a replacement for outgoing coach Tito Vilanova, who stepped down to continue treatment for cancer on Friday.

Martino has cancelled his holidays and will travel to Barcelona to continue negotiations with the Spanish champions, although the club also remain interested in recruiting their former player and B-team coach Luis Enrique from Celta Vigo.

Luis Enrique’s arrival is complicated by the fact that he only joined Celta earlier this summer and is curently designing a new project for the Galician side ahead of the 2013-14 season. Barca would have to pay a €3 million release clause to sign their former midfielder, who played 300 games in Blaugrana colours and coached the club’s B team between 2008 and 2011.

Former Paraguay and Newell’s Old Boys coach Martino is the preferred choice of Lionel Messi and recently revealed his admiration for Barcelona’s passing game. The Argentine will fly in for talks with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta on Monday and could be unveiled by Barca as early as Tuesday if negotiations are successful.

Meanwhile, Celta claim they have had no contact from Barca regarding Luis Enrique, who resumes training with the Galician side on Monday after using his day off on Sunday to participate in a cycle ride with former Barca goalkeeping coach Juan Carlos Unzue. “I’m exercising my legs and my head,” the 43-year-old later wrote on Twitter.

Whatever happens, Jordi Roura will take charge of Barca’s friendly against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side on Wednesday.

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Betting Special: Luis Enrique offers value to replace Vilanova at Barcelona

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Rodgers concedes Liverpool would consider Suarez sale if valuation is met

The wantaway striker is set to make his first-team return against Melbourne Victory, but his manager says the Arsenal target could leave if the Reds receive a suitable offer

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has conceded that Luis Suarez could leave the club if a suitable offer is received.

The striker touched down in Melbourne on Sunday ahead of his first involvement in the Reds’ pre-season tour after being afforded additional time off following June’s Confederations Cup.

Suarez made his desire to leave Liverpool public last month – with Arsenal set to test Liverpool’s resolve with a £40 million offer after seeing an initial £35m bid rejected – and Rodgers has admitted he cannot rule out an Anfield exit for the Uruguayan.

“The reality is that he’s a player who is very much valued at Liverpool and unless there’s any sort of offer that comes in that is anywhere near his value, there’s nothing to consider, and we haven’t had that,” Rodgers told the club’s official website.

“As we’ve always been as a club, I’m quite relaxed about it.

“We’ll chat to him at some stage, like we do with all the players, but he’s back, he’s in great spirits and he’s obviously an integral part of the group.

“You could see his closeness with his team-mates last night when they were all seeing him for the first time in a number of weeks.

“He’ll join training today [Sunday] with all the other players and over the course of these next few weeks we’ll communicate.”

Rodgers said both Suarez and captain Steven Gerrard were expected to feature against A-League side Victory in front of a sell-out crowd at the MCG on Wednesday.

“The players aren’t quite up to 90 minutes yet,” Rodgers said. “For the game in Indonesia we played a team for around 60 minutes and then we looked to make changes.

“The players are only three weeks into their preparations but they’ll all be involved; they’ll all have some part to play.”

More than 95,000 fans are expected to fill the MCG in what is set to be the biggest crowd the English giants have ever played in front of.

“We’re very honoured to be playing at such an iconic sporting venue,” he added.

“It’s a great honour to play there and to be sold out is remarkable really but it doesn’t surprise me because the support for this football club really is worldwide.”

Ancelotti denies Higuain to Napoli deal

The attacker is widely expected to leave his current club this summer but his coach has stressed that no agreement on a transfer is yet in place

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has rubbished reports that the Liga champions have reached an agreement with Napoli over the sale of Gonzalo Higuain.

The 25-year-old Argentina international has been heavily linked with a move away from Madrid, with Arsenal, Napoli and Chelsea all believed to be interested in his services.

Reports last weekend suggested Higuain was close to a switch to the Serie A side, but Ancelotti has insisted the transfer is by no means a done deal and reiterated his desire to keep the striker in the Spanish capital.

“Higuain to Napoli a done deal? Not true, I don’t have any news about this,” Ancelotti told reporters after his side’s 6-0 friendly win over Bournemouth.

“We still have to speak about Higuain as a Real Madrid player at this point.

“I spoke to him this week. He is a Real Madrid player and until we have news we have to consider him as a Real Madrid player and I would like him to stay with us.

“He is very important to us and nothing else, it is not my business to judge the price of a player.”

Higuain’s contract with Madrid runs until the summer of 2016.

Dortmund wanted Isco & Thiago, confirms Klopp

The 46-year-old has stated the Champions League finalists were after both Spaniards, while adding that he sees Jackson Martinez as a good replacement for Robert Lewandowski

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has revealed that the Bundesliga giants were interested in signing Isco and Thiago Alcantara this summer.

BVB were in the market for an attacking midfielder due to the €37 million departure of Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich and both Spain internationals had made their shortlist.

However, Dortmund eventually opted to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shaktar Donetsk as Isco and Thiago ended up at Real Madrid and Bayern respectively.

“We also thought about signing Isco. We are not stupid. We had a look at Thiago Alcantara as well. We saw all of them,” Klopp told Kicker.

“It was pretty clear that we would not stand a chance in the race for Isco’s signature, though.”

The 46-year-old coach then went on to discuss potential replacements for Robert Lewandowski, with the Poland international expected to make the move to Bayern in the summer of 2014, and admitted that Porto star Jackson Martinez is one of the players on BVB’s list.

“I have a number of attackers in my mind, but I don’t know whether we can realistically sign any of them,” Klopp continued.

“Jackson has a lot of qualities that make him an interesting striker. He holds up the ball very well, scores a lot of goals and is always available to receive the ball.”

The 26-year-old Martinez has a contract with Porto until June 2016.