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Steve Finnan signs up as double deal close

Steve Finnan signs up as double deal close

Jul 12 2007

by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post

Steve Finnan

STEVE FINNAN is set to become the latest player to commit his long-term future to Liverpool – with the Anfield club expected to tie up their £17million double swoop for Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel today.

Highly-rated 20-year-old forward Babel was on Merseyside yesterday to agree terms on a five-year deal and pass a medical.

Although Liverpool and Ajax have yet to decide on a fee for the versatile attacker – who can play up front or on either wing – agreement is expected to be reached today on a price of around £12m.

Liverpool have already negotiated a package understood to be worth £5m for Benayoun, who travelled north last night and will have a medical today.

No problems are anticipated with either transfer, and Liverpool are hopeful of unveiling the pair before the end of the week.

Rafael Benitez believes Israeli midfielder Benayoun can prove a ready-made replacement for the recently departed Luis Garcia.

“They are similar,” said the Liverpool manager. “Maybe Luis is a player who scores more goals and Benayoun tends to make more assists.

“Like Luis, he is a very technical, clever player with a lot of game intelligence. He can also play in many positions, giving us a different option for the team.

“He was offered a big new contract at West Ham and received offers from a lot of other clubs offering him more money. But Yossi’s message was always the same. He said he was desperate to only join Liverpool because this was his dream.”

Liverpool’s other major summer recruit, Fernando Torres, is nursing a minor ankle injury, although he took part in training yesterday.

Finnan, meanwhile, is poised to follow the example of Pepe Reina, Momo Sissoko, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Xabi Alonso by signing a new contract.

The 31-year-old Republic of Ireland international has been offered a two-year deal with the option of an extra 12 months.

Elsewhere, Benitez has added to his backroom staff at Melwood with the appointment of Angel Vales as a reserve team coach and head of technical analysis.

The 40-year-old Spaniard has previously been part of the management team in youth development at clubs in Spain and Portugal, and is a doctor of sports science.

Benitez also continues to bolster Liverpool ’s youth set-up with Millwall striker David Amoo the latest to arrive at the Academy yesterday, the Anfield outfit beating a number of leading clubs to the signature of the 17-year-old.

The Academy’s Head of Recruitment Malcolm Elias said: “He’s an exciting young talent with fantastic physical prowess. He’s a natural athlete who possesses great pace and has represented London as a sprinter at the English Schools National Track and Field Championships.”

Liverpool youngsters Martin Hansen and Michael Collins have both signed two-year professional contracts after turning 17.

Goalkeeper Hansen, a part of the club’s Youth Cup winning side last year and a regular for Denmark under-17s, will train at Melwood while Collins, a striker with the Republic of Ireland U17s, is posted at the Academy.


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