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May 1, 2009

Defender Agger close to agreeing new Reds deal

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is believed to be close to signing a new long-term contract with the club after speculation that he was waiting to buy himself out of the final year of his contract.

The Danish star has been involved in a lengthy saga over his future and has been linked with AC Milan, Juventus and Barcelona in recent months with talks seemingly at a stalemate with the Anfield club.

It had been thought that Agger wanted a wage rise from £50,000 a week to £70,000 a week. However, his agent Per Steffensen has recently visited Liverpool for discussions with manager Rafael Benitez and it is thought that a deal is now on the table that suits both player and club.

Benitez said: "These conversations have gone really well and we are very close. Maybe we will soon have a solution."

Liverpool recently agreed new deals with Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt while verbal agreements have been made with youngsters Nathan Ecclestone, Peter Gulacsi, Krisztian Nemeth and Nabil El Zhar.

Meanwhile, midfielder Javier Mascherano has admitted he is unsure whether his long-term future lies at Anfield.

"For now the main thing is to try to win the league and then I will have to think about what I am going to do but I am good here," he told Sky Sports News.

"I can't say anything bad about Liverpool as a city or as a club because they were great with me but obviously you never know what is going to happen because if some club can come here with a good offer and the club say 'ok you have to go' then I will leave - you don't know."

Manager Rafa Benitez, however, has insisted that both Mascherano and Juventus-target Xabi Alonso will be staying at the club.

"I was talking with Javier this morning for 15 minutes about the comments in the press," said Benitez. "He said 'I cannot stop top sides asking about me, or talking with my agent.' He is really pleased and happy to be here. He knows he is at a massive club.

"He is an idol for the fans and a key player for me so I think everything is okay. It is the same situation with Xabi - we want to keep the key players. That is something we are very clear on."

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