18 May 2012, 14:46
Guardiola tops Liverpool wishlist
LONDON. May 18. KAZINFORM Liverpool have wasted little time in the search for Kenny Dalglish's successor by drawing up a wishlist headed by Pep Guardiola and Fabio Capello, and have already approached Roberto Martínez at Wigan Athletic, Swansea City's Brendan Rodgers and André Villas-Boas within 24 hours of bringing the Anfield legend's reign to an end.
Fenway Sports Group, the club's owners, received permission to hold talks with Martínez from the Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan, as their wide-ranging approach to identifying Liverpool's next manager became apparent a day after Dalglish's exit. Unlike Whelan, Swansea have not cleared the way for Rodgers to meet Liverpool as yet but are expected to do so. Villas‑Boas is also in the frame for the Liverpool job but John W Henry and Tom Werner, the principal owner and the chairman at Anfield respectively, intend to assess several candidates as they finalise a shortlist. Martínez, Rodgers and Villas‑Boas are by no means the only coaches under consideration. The ideal candidates are Guardiola and Capello but Liverpool's prospects of landing the outgoing Barcelona coach and former England manager are understood to be remote. Guardiola has previously stated his intention to take a sabbatical from the game following a trophy-laden but draining spell at the Camp Nou, while Capello is keen on the Chelsea job. Borussia Dortmund's Jürgen Klopp and Marseille's Didier Deschamp are also thought to be under consideration, Kazinform quotes the Guardian.
The Wigan chairman revealed: "When Liverpool sacked Kenny I have to say I thought Liverpool would be knocking on the door, and sure enough they are. I did promise Roberto when a big club comes he will have permission to talk to them and they don't come any bigger than Liverpool. I gave permission and he will be talking to them soon."
Martínez does not have the title-winning experience that forms part of FSG's criteria but he will get the opportunity to convince Liverpool's owners that he can fit into the new management structure they intend to install at Anfield. Whelan said: "We played there [at Liverpool] about two months ago. There's no heart at the club. It's a bit disturbing when you think a club like Liverpool is functioning without a heart. I mentioned that to Roberto and I think there's no heart beating at Liverpool. I think the sooner they get a heart the better. I don't know Roberto's feelings about Liverpool, I think he's going there with an open mind. I would love to keep Roberto, he's a great manager."
Liverpool's managing director, Ian Ayre, claimed the selection of Dalglish's successor represented the most critical in the club's recent history. He also insisted Anfield remains an attraction for the finest managers in the game. FSG are being advised on the process by "highly regarded people within football", according to Ayre, who revealed the next manager must work under a new management structure at Anfield. Damien Comolli's former role as director of football is to be fragmented this summer although the new manager will continue to have an influence on transfers.
Liverpool face a third season outside the Champions League next term and Uefa's financial fair play rules, which requires clubs throughout Europe to break even, come into effect in 2013‑14. The failure to mount a challenge to the top four this season, and FSG's doubts over Dalglish's ability to deliver one next year, cost him his job despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching the FA Cup final.
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