Premier League

Early business boosts Liverpool

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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:30:00

Hungary international midfielder Jozsef Varga is to join Middlesbrough on a one-year loan deal from Debrecen.

Varga, 25, is a defensive midfielder and has won 21 caps for his country, for whom he has often played at right-back having made his debut against Portugal in 2009.

He has won three Hungarian titles, two Hungarian Cups and two Hungarian Super Cups in his homeland, winning the country's best newcomer in 2009 and Debrecen's Player of the Year in 2012.

Varga, who spent part of last season on loan with SpVgg Greuther Furth in the German Bundesliga, will join officially on 1 July and is Boro's first transfer move of the summer.

Watford had also shown an interest in Varga, while Debrecen have confirmed that Middlesbrough have the option to make the move permanent before the end of May next year.

The Palmerston Park outfit confirmed the imminent departure of their boss, after he held talks with Killie chairman Michael Johnston.

Johnston - who spent five years at Rugby Park during his playing career - will replace Kenny Shiels, who left the club by mutual agreement earlier this month.

A Queen of the South statement read: "We can confirm that Allan Johnston has this afternoon agreed terms to join Kilmarnock FC as their new manager.

"The Board will meet this evening to discuss the position."

It is understood Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will attend the Reds' Melwood training ground for a medical before finalising personal terms on an £11million-plus transfer agreed on Friday.

The Belgium international will be manager Brendan Rodgers' fourth signing before the end of June after previous deals for Manchester City defender Kolo Toure, Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto and Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas.

More are set to follow, with Liverpool well down the line in negotiations for Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori while they are trying to hammer out a complicated deal for £20million-rated Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan.

But the fact a bulk of the business has already been done - not taking into account striker Luis Suarez who is publicly courting a move to Real Madrid - will be advantageous to Rodgers according to Ayre.

"It's always important. It's not always possible but it's always important," said the managing director.

"Particularly from the playing perspective, the manager and the coaches and all of the staff want to know that they've got the squad together, particularly ahead of pre-season.

"We've worked tirelessly, a lot of people behind the scenes worked ahead of the transfer window to identify those players that interest us.

"Then the hard work starts, negotiating and bringing these deals together."

Liverpool were able to confirm the Aspas deal yesterday after personal issues with his agents were sorted over the weekend.

The 25-year-old scored 12 goals in 34 league matches as Celta Vigo avoided relegation on the last day of the season.

By then a deal had already been lined up for a fee in the region of £7.7million.

"It wasn't a tough decision at all. I'm really happy to have come to a big club like this one," said the Spaniard.

"Having weighed up all my options for this window, a massive club like Liverpool was always my first choice.

"I've not had the chance to talk with the manager at any length just yet but I think that good players can slot into any role and not just one set position."

"I am a quick and skilful player. Together we will achieve a lot of success."

Unlike last season, when Rodgers arrived as Kenny Dalglish's replacement in June and did not have the backroom staff in place to properly utilise the transfer window, the Reds boss is far better prepared 12 months on.

There is unlikely to be any repeat of the situation last August when he sent Andy Carroll out on loan to West Ham the day before the window closed only for a deal for Clint Dempsey to fall through 24 hours later, leaving Liverpool with only one senior striker for the first half of the campaign.

"It's fantastic, the third signing of the summer and very early in the window," Ayre told

"He's a great talent, one that Brendan identified a long time ago.

"The scouting network and everybody else have done a lot of hard work to get him here and I'm pleased that we've been able to get his signature and have him in the squad.

"As we've always said, we've got our targets. We will work as hard as we can to bring them in.

"As we've said before, it's always about getting the right players and the right deals for both sides.

"There's a lot of work going on, there's certainly no shortage of that. Hopefully we'll have some more success."

The impending arrival of Mignolet has put the future of Jose Reina in doubt as a speculated move to Barcelona has not yet materialised and the Catalans' number one Victor Valdes insisting he will see out the remaining year of his contract.

But Reina, currently on international duty with Spain, does not believe his position has altered and Rodgers has insisted he wants more competition and told his first-choice goalkeeper this at the start of last season.

"It has not changed a bit," Reina told reporters after Spain's 3-0 win over Nigeria at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

"I have said it many times, I'm very comfortable and very happy at Liverpool.

"Every team needs competitors, and when it's positive, it is more than welcome.

"If it is finally done, I'll welcome him a lot and anything he needs, I'm here."

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