Ian Rush believes Robbie Fowler would be fantastic for the UAE's new Pro League, but will stay at Cardiff City if he is given a chance to play regular football. Fowler has been linked with a move to Dubai-based club Al Ahli for next season's new professional league. But he looks set to agree a new one-year pay-as-you-play deal to stay at Ninian Park and Rush, the former Liverpool and Wales striking legend, said: "All Robbie wants to do is play regular football.
"He is 33 and he knows he does not want to be on the bench or not playing at this stage in his life. If he gets to play at Cardiff he will stay. He doesn't need the money to play in the UAE but if he decides to go now or in the future, he will go for the challenge. "I am sure he will be fantastic in the Emirates. Forget his age, you never lose quality and Robbie is a quality striker who will score goals for any team, anywhere.
"But I still feel he can do a job at a higher level in England and that's why he will probably stay at Cardiff. They are trying to get into the Premier League and Robbie can play a part in that. "The team has a lot of good youngsters and he can also pass on his experience." Fowler, who starred for Liverpool and England in his prime, scored six goals in 16 games last season despite being plagued by injury, undergoing hip surgery back in December.
Rush added: "Hopefully he will be fit and ready for the new season. If he gets a good pre-season under him, he will be raring to go. He is a proven striker and will want to show that he's not finished." Cardiff are expected to agree a new deal this week as the chairman Peter Ridsdale said: "My understanding at this point is that we have reached agreement with Robbie on an extension to his contract with Cardiff City. We are hopeful we will be able to fully confirm that very shortly."
Meanwhile, one of Fowler's former Liverpool strike partners is preparing to hold transfer talks with Portsmouth after the Anfield club agreed to sell the England striker to the FA Cup winners. Crouch was a £7million (Dh50m) signing by Liverpool in 2005 when he joined from Southampton, and if he agrees to move to Fratton Park it will be for a second spell as a Portsmouth player. He had a successful stint in the Championship with Portsmouth in 2001/02 and secured a big-money move to Aston Villa. A dip in fortunes followed, but then came plenty of highs with Liverpool and England.
However, the Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will let Crouch, 27, leave Anfield this summer and it will be for Crouch to decide whether a move back to the south coast is the best available option for his career. Crouch will discuss the move with Portsmouth "in due course", his prospective new club have said. "We have reached a verbal agreement with Portsmouth and have given them permission to speak with Peter," a Liverpool spokesman told the club's website, www.liverpoolfc.tv.
The fee for Crouch, according to reports, could be an initial £8m (Dh56m) with add-ons of up to £3m (Dh21m). That would bring in funds for Benitez to use on strengthening his squad, and the loss of an established international striker may mean a like-for-like replacement is required. Crouch found his opportunities in Liverpool's starting line-up limited last season as Benitez changed his formation to get the best out of record signing Fernando Torres and inspirational captain Steven Gerrard.
With the England coach Fabio Capello to impress, he would expect to play on a more regular basis under Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth, with national team rival Jermain Defoe his likely strike partner. Liverpool have signed a strike, albeit one for the future, in the Denmark Under 18 international Nikola Saric. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org