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English Premiership

Liverpool go Italian

LIVERPOOL, August 6 – Liverpool are set to sign Italy midfielder Alberto Aquilani from Roma after agreeing a transfer fee with the Serie A club.ALBERTO_AQUILANIAnfield boss Rafa Benitez moved quickly to land Aquilani, who will travel to Merseyside later this week for a medical, after reluctantly selling Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid for 30 million pounds.

It is believed Liverpool have agreed to pay around 20 million pounds (50.8 million dollars) for Aquilani, who rejected interest from Chelsea and Arsenal to join his childhood heroes Roma when he was 16.

The 25-year-old, who has 11 caps for Italy, may take a while to find his feet in the Premier league as he hasn’t played since March due to injury.

He made just 14 league appearances last season and had surgery on his right ankle in May.

"Alberto is a very good player and I’m delighted we’ve reached agreement with Roma for his transfer," Benitez said. "Alberto has a winning mentality and great experience in both Serie A and the Champions League.

"He has long been recognised as a top class talent in Italy, captaining his country at both Under-19 and Under-21 levels before establishing himself in the senior national side."

Benitez, currently in Norway for Wednesday’s friendly with Lyn Oslo, is working to a limited budget and had to wait until the Alonso deal was sealed before he had the cash to fund a move for Aquilani.

The Spaniard’s only other close-season signing of note has been England right-back Glen Johnson, who joined from Portsmouth 17 million pounds.

However, Benitez is still searching for another defender after Sami Hyypia’s departure to Bayer Leverkusen, Alvaro Arbeloa’s move to Real Madrid and injuries to Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel in pre-season.

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He could plug that gap by raiding cash-strapped Portsmouth again for French centre-back Sylvain Distin.

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