Liverpool chief aims swipe at Whelan

Liverpool's new manager Brendan Rodgers (centre), Managing Director Ian Ayre (left) and Chairman Tom Werner (right)

Liverpool's new manager Brendan Rodgers (centre), Managing Director Ian Ayre (left) and Chairman Tom Werner (right)

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LIVERPOOL’S managing director Ian Ayre has dismissed claims from Latics owner Dave Whelan that Roberto Martinez was offered the Reds’ manager’s job.

Liverpool confirmed the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager on a three-year contract on Friday, with Ayre insisting the former Swansea City boss had always been the club’s No.1 choice.

This came after Fenway Sports Group, the Reds’ owners, had held preliminary talks with Latics boss Martinez, having been given permission to do so by Whelan.

“Our aim from the outset was to conduct a proper, thorough, search, and do it in the proper manner,” insisted Ayre.

“From our point of view, we did all the right things. We approached the clubs we needed to approach, and conducted ourselves properly at all times.

“It is disappointing, then, that Dave Whelan felt the need to run the kind of sideshow he conducted via Sky Sports News and various other media outlets.”

Ayre was particularly irked by Whelan’s suggestions that a formal offer had been made to 38-year-old Martinez.

“That is patently not true,” he said.

“It is important to understand that we ran a proper search to find a new manager, and that part of that involved us speaking to a number of candidates.

“We make no secret of the fact we spoke with Roberto Martinez, but that is all we did. He is a great guy, and I can’t speak highly enough of his professionalism and conduct.

“We can say with absolute certainty that the only person who was made any offer by Liverpool Football Club is Brendan Rodgers.”

Meanwhile, with uncertainty over Martinez’s future now seemingly over, Latics are being linked with a move for sought-after Derby County striker Theo Robinson.

With Hugo Rodallega now having left the DW Stadium and Victor Moses being hotly tipped by some to be on his way out soon, some attention will now surely need to be focused on pepping up the Latics strike force.

Twenty-three-year-old Robinson netted 12 goals for Nigel Clough’s Rams last season and is valued in the region of £1.5m.

He started his career with Watford and had spells with Huddersfield and Millwall before moving to Pride Park in 2011.

Martin Jol’s Fulham are also reported to be admirers of the Birmingham-born hit-man.