Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hicks Promises Significant Transfers

Tom Hicks

New Liverpool owner Tom Hicks today told Liverpool fans to expect big-money transfers next week as the club prepares to mount a serious challenge for the Barclays Premiership.

Hicks, speaking after skipper Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher signed new contracts, vowed to "give Manchester United a run for their money" next season.

But despite pledging money for new signings, the American co-owner demanded bosses Rafael Benitez to produce a more “consistent” side next term.

Hicks insisted that results must improve to compete with Chelsea and Manchester United.

He said: “Our goal is to play good football all season next time out. In the Premiership, you have to be so consistent.

“We lost far too many games on the road, particularly to lesser teams.

“That’s the goal going into next season, to try to win those games that we have not been winning in the league.

“Only then will we be able to give Manchester United a good run for their money.”

Hicks is also confident that revised plans for the club’s new stadium will be revealed soon.

He said: “The design is now final, it’s spectacular and I can’t wait for everybody to see it.

I think our fans will love it - it’s very creative architecture, very contemporary but also unique to Liverpool.

“It is all centered around the Kop. It will be the symphony stage that plays to the symphony hall.”

Benitez returns from holiday at the end of the week keen to conclude new contract discussions with Jose Reina, Xabi Alonso and Steve Finnan.

And Hicks, added: “I would say to fans ’just be patient’, because we’re talking to Rafa often. We are going to sign some good players, some good young players.

“The academy is now under Rafa’s control and that will also help us produce our own young players.

“(Chief executive) Rick Parry is in charge of getting the contracts negotiated and I think the fans will like the outcome. Maybe we’ll hear something in the next week.”

And Benitez believes that securing Gerrard and Carragher on long-term deals will help him persuade transfer targets to join Liverpool.

He was reacting for the first time to the news that the pair have signed new deals which will keep tie them to the club until 2011.

The contracts were verbally agreed ahead of the Champions League final, but Benitez is delighted pen has finally been put to paper.

He told www.liverpoolfc.tv: “These deals send out a key message as we enter a crucial period.

“Other players will look at Stevie and Carra committing their future to Liverpool and understand that this means we are determined to progress on the pitch.

“When we talk to players we’d like to sign for this club, we can point to the fact that they will be playing alongside the likes of Stevie and Carra.

“Now these two deals are complete, we need to continue working on bringing in new players and keeping the ones we already have.”

Benitez is chasing several foreign players, including Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o and Lyon winger Florent Malouda.

The Spaniard added: “New contracts for Stevie and Carra are two very important deals because they are about safeguarding the future of this club.

“They both wanted to stay at the club. They have a passion for this club and you can see that in the way they play.

“They are 100% committed to Liverpool and now they can be 100% focused on their futures at Anfield.”

Parry added: “It was a priority for us to get two of our most important players, two local players, signed up to new contracts.

“It’s a very positive statement we feel and sends out an important message. There’s a lot of work - an awful lot of work - going on in the background.

“It’s important we get the right players and there will be a lot of activity at the club to come - but we’re delighted to see Steven and Jamie sign these contracts.”