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Reds face Yossi fight

Jun 26 2007

by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

Yossi Benayoun in action for West Ham

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON is hoping to hijack Liverpool’s move for Yossi Benayoun.

The Manchester City manager-elect has already earmarked his first transfer target, even before signing his three-year contract at Eastlands.

And he wants West Ham’s Israeli captain.

The Reds made an initial bid in excess of £1.5m more than a week ago for the midfielder, but it was instantly dismissed by West Ham.

The Reds have not made a renewed offer, hoping The Hammers’ desire to recruit a striker will lead to a possible exchange deal with Craig Bellamy.

And Benayoun is prepared to be patient.

The player’s agent, Ronen Katzav, said: “We are still waiting.

“The deal is still in place with West Ham. We are waiting to see if the two clubs can come to an agreement.

“I am not going to say Yossi is desperate for a move at all, but it is only natural – any player in the world would be attracted by Liverpool.”

West Ham agreed a new three-year contract with Benayoun, who Rafa Benitez sees as a replacement in his squad for the departed Bolo Zenden, but it has remained unsigned since Liverpool made their interest known.

Eriksson’s City backers believe a contract worth around £3m-a-year – terms Liverpool are unlikely to match – will persuade Benayoun to choose City.

Another Reds target, meanwhile, Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, is ready to confront club officials in an effort to break the deadlock over his proposed move.

The Spanish international striker is enthusiastic about the prospect of a move to Anfield, but fears he is being priced out of a switch.

He intends outlining his misgivings to president Enrique Cerezo.

Atletico’s £27million asking price is proving a stumbling block, although Liverpool are hoping a player-exchange could solve the impasse.

Benitez told the ECHO last week that Djibril Cisse will not be allowed out on loan again, and he could be used as a makeweight in the deal.

A move to La Liga may well appeal to Cisse, who recently bought a Spanish holiday home in Sitges.


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