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Liverpool boss Benitez looking to spend
by Joe Addison, July 11th, 2008 7AM



[TRANSFER TALK] Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has cash that's burning a hole in his pocket. Peter Crouch's $22 million departure to Portsmouth, John Arne Riise's $8 million move to Roma, and Xabi Alonso's rumored $30 million switch to Juventus, have all left Benitez eager to make a splash in the summer transfer market.

"We still need another two or three new faces," the Liverpool manager says.

Benitez had already bolstered his backline, bringing in Swiss defender Phillip Degen for free from Borussia Dortmund and welcoming Italian left back Andrea Dossena for $14 million from Udinese.

But now he's looking to add to his squad's attacking options. The manager originally expressed an interest in David Villa, hoping to lure the Valencia forward to Anfield with the possibility of recreating his Euro 2008 title-winning strike partnership with Fernando Torres. But Villa's $60 million price tag and his desire to stay in La Liga have forced Benitez to take his interests elsewhere.

The manager, who has been at Liverpool since 2004, has now set his gaze on Tottenham's Robbie Keane.

"Keane is clearly a player that has game intelligence and we are looking for players who can fit into our systems and improve the team," he said.

Tottenham is unlikely to part ways with the Ireland forward for anything less than $40 million.

Benitez is also hopeful about the transfer of England midfielder Gareth Barry. Liverpool has been locked in talks with Aston Villa about the possible transfer of the 27-year-old Barry since the end of last season.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill had been reluctant to sell Barry, but the midfielder has recently made disparaging remarks about his boss and O'Neill now feels he has no choice but to let the player move on. Villa, however, remains firm with its asking price. Liverpool will have to fork over $36 million for Barry's services.

Another player Benitez has expressed interest in is Valencia midfielder David Silva. The winger, who helped Spain to the Euro 2008 title, may be enticed by the Spanish contingent at Anfield that includes Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa and Torres. Valencia, though, has nixed the possibility of a deal.

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