Liverpool boss plays down transfer talk over move for Newcastle playmaker

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has played down speculation over a move for Newcastle United playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa.

The Sun reported yesterday that the Reds would consider offering striker Andy Carroll in a bid to lure the Frenchman away from St. James' Park in a part-exchange deal, but Rodgers insists he wasn’t aware of any such speculation until this morning (Friday).

The Anfield chief refused to speak specifically about an individual player - as is his policy - but whilst admitting he would look to strengthen in the summer, he played down the suggestion that a move would be made for the Newcastle star.

“I only just heard about that on the way in [to training],” he told talkSPORT when quizzed on a move for Ben Arfa.

“The thing I’ve learnt about Liverpool is that, just because of the sheer size of the club, there are players linked with us all the time.

“As a manager, you are just trying to focus on the group you have got and then we will review anything at the end of the season, in terms of players coming in. There’s no doubt we want to strengthen but there’s certainly no names out there.”

Rodgers also spoke on the future of Carroll at the club, revealing that finances also had to be taken into consideration when deciding whether the England international forward would return to Merseyside.

The Liverpool boss wouldn’t rule out the West Ham loanee re-joining the first team at the end of the season, but admitted that a ‘sit down’ will need to take place.

“The whole reason for big Andy going out was to play games. I was open and honest with him in the summer that because of how we would play and the structure of the team he maybe wouldn’t play so many games. It was an amicable conversation and he just wanted to go out and play,” he added.

“Like he showed last week [against West Brom], if you get the right balls into the right areas he can score with quality. But we will sit down at the end of the season.

“It’s not just about the playing side. This year has been about managing the finances here and that needs to come into consideration as well."

Rodgers was speaking to the radio station ahead of Liverpool’s clash with the Hammers on Sunday, with the Reds desperate for three points as they continue their fight for a European place.

Hatem Ben Arfa
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