Thursday, June 21, 2007

Benitez Splashing Out In Spain

Rafa Benitez is reportedly planning a £45m raid on Spain for Fernando Torres and Diego Forlan.

Liverpool fans will soon know how serious new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are about bringing success to Anfield as Benitez challenges them to spend big on strikers.

Torres will cost anywhere between £24m and £27m depending on what newspaper you believe, but it does seem that Atletico Madrid are finally ready to sell the Spaniard.

According to The Sun, Benitez is convinced that Torres wants to join Liverpool and will snub offers from Italy as well as Manchester United and Chelsea.

Persuading Forlan to leave Spain might be more difficult, with the Uruguayan settled there. His previous spell in England would hardly make him want to rush back.

Villarreal would want upwards of £15m for Forlan, and battling Liverpool for his signature are Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland

Cisse Set For Another Loan Season At Marseille

Marseille and Liverpool are close to agreeing a new loan deal for Djibril Cisse, according to L'Equipe.

The France international striker spent last season at the Stade Velodrome and is happy to remain for a further season after l'OM qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

Bolton and Benfica have also been linked with a bid for Cisse, but it appears Marseille are set to reach an accord with The Reds.

The deal is likely to include the option for Marseille to sign the 25-year-old front man for a pre-determined fee next summer.

Barcelona's Ludovic Giuly is another priority for l'OM, who are on the lookout for a replacement for Franck Ribery.

Monaco also want the Barca attacker but Marseille sport director Jose Anigo hopes to steal a march on their rivals.

"We are in talks. We are trying but it is not that easy," Anigo said.

Meanwhile, Anigo has revealed he is close to capturing Karim Ziani, having agreed a deal with the winger.

But further talks with Sochaux chairman Jean-Claude Plessis are still required before the move can be finalised.

Anigo added in L'Equipe: "We have an agreement with the player and his agent. Now we are waiting for talks with the Sochaux chairman."

However, former Milan and Paris Saint Germain midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo will not replace Ziani at Sochaux, according to Plessis.

"We dreamt during a moment, but eventually the reality caught up with us," he told Direct 8.

Fernando Torres Heading To Anfield

Liverpool are reportedly hoping to seal a deal for top target Fernando Torres after Atletico Madrid finally decided to sell their prize asset.

The Spanish striker will cost around £25million because of a clause in his contract but The Liverpool Echo believes that price will not put off Rafa Benitez.

Torres has previously been a target for Manchester United and Chelsea, but he is thought to favour a move to Liverpool and during a recent match his captain's armband slipped to reveal the words 'You'll never walk alone' printed on the reverse.

Atletico have finally agreed to sell Torres after failing to reach the UEFA Cup following a disappointing season in which their star striker still managed to score 14 goals.

Some reports suggest that Liverpool have despatched officials to Madrid in order to open talks with Atletico Madrid, who might be tempted by an offer of former player Luis Garcia in part exchange.

Capturing a player of Torres' stature would appease both Benitez and Reds' fans who are becoming impatient at the lack of activity in the transfer market since Benitez's bleak Athens post-mortem.

Torres has scored 82 goals in 212 league appearances for Atletico, with 14 goals in 42 international appearances.