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South Korea warn against LVG, AVB rumours

South Korea
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 By Paul Murphy

Ex-Liverpool midfielder Danny Guthrie signs with Indonesia's Mitra Kukar

PJ Roberts assesses if Rafael van der Vaart is suited for a move to Indonesian club Bali United.

Former Newcastle United and Liverpool midfielder Danny Guthrie has joined Mitra Kukar in Indonesia's Liga 1, just after his ex-Reds' teammate Mohamed Sissoko left the club.

The Indonesian side confirmed the signing on their Facebook page, showing images of Guthrie undergoing his medical check.

Guthrie signs as a free agent, his most recent spell with Blackburn Rovers having ended last year. His contract is for one year, with the option of an extension.

"Hopefully the presence of Danny is able to contribute positively to lift the achievements of Naga Mekes [Fierce Dragon] next season," a statement on the club's Facebook page said.

Despite the presence of Sissoko in midfield last year, the club ended the 2017 season in a disappointing 10th spot.

They will hope that 30-year-old Guthrie can rediscover the dynamic form of earlier in his career as he joins former Premier League stars Michael Essien and Peter Odemwingie in Indonesia.

Ex-West Bromwich Albion and Nigeria striker Odemwingie fared best of the ex-Premier League players last year as he scored regularly for Madura United. Essien's form was mixed at Persib Bandung, while things did not work out for Carlton Cole and Didier Zokora as they left before the season ended.

Sissoko settled well, but has since moved to Atletico San Luis in Mexico, leaving his midfield spot to Guthrie.

Guthrie began his career with Liverpool, and his first-team debut came when he replaced Sissoko in a League Cup tie against Reading.

But he failed to establish himself at Anfield and was soon sent out on loan to Southampton and Bolton Wanderers, where he gained Premier League and UEFA Cup experience, before returning to Liverpool.

In 2008, Kevin Keegan brought Guthrie to Newcastle United on a permanent deal, and it was in his first couple of seasons here that he arguably had the best years of his career.

Danny Guthrie playing for Liverpool in 2006
Danny Guthrie made more than 100 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, Newcastle, Bolton and Reading.

After falling out of favour, Guthrie was released in 2012 and moved to Reading, who had been promoted to the Premier League.

He spent three years at the Royals before being released and made the move to Blackburn Rovers in 2015.

Guthrie had to wait two years for his first Blackburn goal and it came in vain as, despite contributing to a 3-1 over Brentford City on the final day of the 2016-17 season, it could not prevent relegation to League One.

That spelled the end of his time with Rovers, and he will hope that his stint at Mitra Kukar will start and end on a more positive note.

Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK

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