Toure to make up for lost time
Tue, 02 Jul 2013 18:18:00
Chelsea and Paris St-Germain are battling to sign Edinson Cavani, but Napoli are refusing to drop their asking price for the Uruguay international.
The French club look set to rival the Stamford Bridge outfit for the signature of the 26-year-old, who was Serie A's top scorer last season with 29 goals, with Sky sources learning a Â£43million offer had been made by PSG.
Sky sources also understand that Jose Mourinho's Premier League side made an approach to Napoli earlier on Tuesday, but are unwilling to meet the Â£54m buy-out clause in Cavani's contract.
With the in-demand striker keen to end uncertainty over his future, it is believed that talks between his agent and Napoli officials over his fee are due to take place this week.
However, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is refusing to budge on his valuation, and also denied received a firm bid from the Ligue 1 outfit.
He told Sky Sports News: "We have not had a direct offer from PSG. Napoli is a very rich club and we comply with financial fair play. We don't need to sell any of our players.
"If someone wants to buy Cavani, they must pay 63million euros, net. Not one euro less than 63million euros.
"Otherwise we will be happy to keep Cavani, he has a contract until 2017."
Speaking after Uruguay's Confederations Cup defeat to Italy, Cavani said: "I want to talk as soon as possible with president De Laurentiis.
"We must clear this (situation up) ourselves. I'll talk with him, as it's done between men, really soon.
"Right now, I'm at Napoli and I'm very proud to be there. If I leave one day, I'll be ready to move to a bigger club. We'll see."
Napoli coach, and former interim Chelsea manager, Rafa Benitez reiterated his stance last week that he wants Cavani to stay.
Benitez told Corriere dello Sport: "We want Cavani to stay at Napoli.
"We would be really happy if that's how it works out. If he leaves, then it would only be because someone has matched the release clause or comes up with an irresistible offer.
"Cavani knows how much he is loved and how valuable he is to the city and to the team."
The Ivory Coast international played just 29 league matches in the last two campaigns under Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and views his move to Anfield as the chance to make up for lost time.
"Liverpool have given me the chance to show that at 32 I'm still one of the best defenders, and I will fight for that," said the centre-back, who has officially signed for the Reds after his contract expired with the former Premier League champions.
"These past two years of being 'part-time' have helped me refresh and be more hungry.
"I want to try and help Liverpool win trophies this season."
Toure leaves brother Yaya behind at the Etihad Stadium but he knew it was not an option for him to remain at the club.
"I haven't spoken to him yet really because he's been on holiday but he's going to be on his own there now," he added.
"I wish him the best but I knew I had to leave City. I've come next door and that's a great move for me."
Toure is seen by manager Brendan Rodgers as a short-term replacement for the retired Jamie Carragher.
He certainly has a wealth of Premier League experience, having played for Arsenal before his switch to City, but with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel still at the club he knows he will have to fight for his place.
"I am used to competition. When I came into Arsenal the competition was Sol Campbell, Martin Keown, Tony Adams - it was hard competition," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"The only way to improve a team is to make players fight for their place.
"I know Jamie Carragher left the club and that's the reason why I'm here.
"He was massive for this club, he was a great professional and a great example for me.
"I will try to do what he did but I think that's going to be really difficult.
"It adds pressure because it's always hard to replace a big, big player like Jamie.
"I'm looking forward to that because I like challenges. I like to lead when I'm on the pitch, I like to speak to the players and organise things."
Toure joined his new team-mates and fellow new arrivals Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Simon Mignolet for the first day of pre-season at the club's Melwood training ground before formally signing his contract.
"It's like coming to a new school," he said.
"But as soon as I came, Steven Gerrard came up to me and told me that if I needed anything, I could come to see him - that shows the spirit and mentality of this club.
"The manager welcomed me when I came, and all the players as well.
"It's really important to be part of a team that has spirit and togetherness and that's what I see here.
"For a first day, I'm really happy."
The only absentees were those players who have had international duty this summer.
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, club and national team-mate Sebastian Coates, and Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina have all been at the Confederations Cup in Brazil and so have been given an extended break.
Suarez's future remains in doubt, however, after a series of interviews while back in South American in which the 26-year-old criticised his dislike of the British press and admitted a move to Real Madrid would appeal.
Also absent were England youngsters Conor Coady and Jon Flanagan and Spaniard Suso, who have been involved in the Under-20s World Cup in Turkey.
Some of the players, including the likes of Raheem Sterling, Joe Allen, Gerrard - all injured towards the end of last season - and Daniel Sturridge have done some pre-preparation work at Melwood in the last week or so to help them get back up to speed.