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Can Arsenal, minus Emmanuel Abedayor, get their pre-season preparations on track in the Emirates Cup? They face Atletico Madrid in an intriguing encounter on Saturday.

Real Madrid target Xabi Alonso has handed in a transfer request at Anfield, according to reports.

Liverpool have refused to reduce their asking price for Alonso of £30m, which has stalled any potential move to the Bernabeu, but their hand may now be forced as the Spain international has signalled his intention to leave.

Alonso has been at the centre of an ongoing saga as the big-spending Liga outfit have made no secret of their desire to secure a deal.

Speculation suggests a fee will be struck with Madrid within the next couple of days for a sum reported to be in the region of £25m.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has said publicly he doesn’t want to sell Alonso, especially as Javier Mascherano was said to be interesting Barcelona.

Alonso signed from Real Socieded for £10.5m in 2004 shortly after Benitez arrived at the club.

If Alonso is allowed to leave, Alberto Aquilani, the Roma midfield player, has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield while Benítez is also expected to launch a bid for David Silva, the Valencia winger.

Can Arsenal, minus Emmanuel Abedayor, get their pre-season preparations on track in the Emirates Cup? They face Atletico Madrid in an intriguing encounter on Saturday.

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