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Transfer Rater: Bellerin to Barcelona

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Liverpool close to Kolo Toure signing

Liverpool are set to make Kolo Toure their first signing of the summer as they bid to fill the gap in central defence left by Jamie Carragher’s retirement.

- Rodgers wants improved depth

Toure is available on a free transfer, as his four-year contract at Manchester City expires at the end of June. It is understood that he wants to remain in the North West of England, where his children are settled in school.

The 32-year-old has flown to the United States, where City are playing post-season fixtures against Chelsea in St Louis on Thursday and New York on Saturday – but is set to undergo a medical on Merseyside when he returns.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to strengthen in central defence following the retirement of Carragher, who brought his 16-year Anfield first-team career to an end after Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League win over QPR.

Rodgers wants to bring in two central defenders, with Sebastian Coates likely to leave Anfield after failing to make an impression following his move from Nacional, in his native Uruguay, in 2011.

The manager has also looked at the possibility of deals for Schalke’s Greece international Kyriakos Papadopolous, Ajex’s Toby Alderweireld, Tiago Ilori of Sporting Lisbon and Swansea captain Ashley Williams.

Toure was made club captain after he was brought to City from Arsenal by Mark Hughes for £16 million in the summer of 2009, lost his regular place under Roberto Mancini, who gave the armband to Carlos Tevez in 2010.

The Ivory Coast international saw his influence at the club decline in 2011, when he was handed a six-month suspension after failing a doping test and thereafter struggled to win back his place in the team. 


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