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Cash-strapped Benitez shops in the bargain basement

SoccerNews in English Premier League 11 Jul 2008

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Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has admitted he is being forced to shop in the transfer market bargain basement.

Benitez knows Liverpool need an influx of top-class talent to challenge Manchester United for the Premier League title, but the club's American owners have been unable to meet his request for a substantial transfer warchest.

The Spaniard wanted to sign David Villa, Valencia's 30 million pounds rated forward, but a lack of cash has forced him to turn his attention to Tottenham's Robbie Keane.

Gareth Barry's protracted move from Aston Villa has also dragged on longer than Benitez wanted because Liverpool are unwilling to pay the 18 million pounds fee.

Instead, the Anfield boss has made low-budget moves for Udinese defender Andrea Dossena, who cost six million pounds, and Swiss defender Philipp Degen, a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund.

Benitez also hopes to announce the three million pounds capture of Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri soon.

But with Peter Crouch set to join Portsmouth for 11 million pounds, Benitez has made a net profit in the transfer market – a situation that frustrates the Spaniard.

“We know the situation regarding what we can spend, and we are trying to find solutions if we do not have enough money,” Benitez said.

“And we will still try to sign players that will make us better. But if you do not have too much money, and that is clear, we will have to have a little bit of imagination to progress in the market.

“Everyone knows what our ideas are and what players we want. David Villa is one of the players on our list, but at this moment I do not see it being an option for us.

“Keane is also one of the names we are interested in, and we are still working on other possible situations.

“There has been some contact (over Keane) but we will have to see how things progress.

“We are still waiting on Gareth Barry. I prefer now not to say anything and to wait.”

Benitez had been willing to sell Xabi Alonso to Juventus to raise funds but the Spanish midfielder is keen to stay at Anfield.

“We had our ideas at the end of the season. We have tried to use players to raise money for business in the past, sometimes selling players who have not settled down,” he said.

“This summer it is very much the same idea. We know we will have to sell some players if we want some cash. So we have to do that.

“Xabi wants to stay because he is happy here but he also knows that Juventus is a top side. I have talked to him, he knows my ideas and he knows why. So we will try to find a solution for him, for us, and the best for the club.”

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