Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Benitez Eyeing For Two More Players

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has said he is in the market for "two new faces" during the summer following his successful pursuit of top priority Fernando Torres.

The highly-rated forward joined the Reds for a club-record £25 million last week but the Spanish tactician claims he is not quite finished in the transfer market and is particularly targeting wingers.

"We don't need a lot of new players, maybe two new faces," he said.

However Benitez has also sought to reassure the club's existing squad-members – particularly winger Jermaine Pennant – that any new signings will not threaten their places in the Liverpool squad.

"Jermaine is the type of player I like, a winger who goes forward and puts crosses in," Benitez continued.

"He can do this job perfectly but we do need other players in wide areas.

"He played really well in the Champions League final and he has also done really well in pre-season."

Pennant has scored just once in his 52 appearances in all competitions for the Anfield club but has impressed on a number of occasions.

His career had seemed to take several backward steps in recent years, following his inauspicious departure from Arsenal in 2005 and his drink-driving conviction later that year while a Birmingham City player, which saw him serve a 30-day prison sentence.

Pennant was signed by Liverpool in July last year on a four-year contract for £6.7 million.

Liverpool Make £10m Bid For Babel

Liverpool have made a £10m bid for highly-rated Ajax winger Ryan Babel, BBC Five Live Sport understands.

However, the Dutch club are thought to be holding out for £13.5m for the 20-year-old, who has also been linked to Arsenal.

Babel's agent told Sportweek magazine: "Liverpool have made a bid for Ryan but he hasn't spoken with them.

"We can only speak when Ajax say the clubs have an agreement, and phase two can start, but it's not that far yet."

But Five Live football correspondent Jonathan Legard has been told a deal could go through on Wednesday.

He said: "Liverpool have bid 15m euros (£10m), Ajax want 20 million euros (£13.5m) so there's a gap of about £3.5m.

"He was strongly linked to Arsenal but Liverpool have made their move and it seems they will use the money from Craig Bellamy's move to West Ham to bring in one of Europe's finest young talents."

Babel impressed as part of the Holland Under-21 team that won the recent European Championship.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez signed striker Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid last week and admitted he was looking to sign wide players to help supply his new acquisition.

Babel made 27 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax last season, scoring five goals.