Benitez demands £30m from Liverpool

The Spanish and Italian giants have both made the Kop boss their number one target. A Liverpool insider said: “Rafa is aware of Real and Inter’s interest but is desperate to build on last season’s Champions League victory. “However, to do that, he believes he needs ’30m. He wants to buy a world-class centre-half and right winger so the team can bring the title back to Anfield for the first time since 1990.” The former Valencia chief, 24 months into a five-year deal, wants to stay at Anfield ‘ but only if he is given the cash to land the title. The Spaniard has no intention of holding a gun to the Liverpool board by demanding a new contract to replace his ‘2,5m-a-year deal. But he believes the squad needs a huge investment so he can tackle Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Ferguson eyes Lille duo Alex Ferguson is planning a swoop for Lille midfield duo Mathieu Bodmer and Jean Makoun. Manchester United manager has identified the two stars after scouts watched them several times. United directors have already met Cameroon ace Makoun’s representatives and plan to make a move at the end of the season. Makoun (22) said: “I know that United are interested in me. They sent a scout to our game against Monaco last week. My agents have met United. Apparently they want to sign me for next season. “There is no concrete offer for Lille but I know United will make one at the end of the season.” Lille are third in the French league and will cash in on Makoun if they fail to clinch a Champions League place. Davids, Keane punch-up pays-off Edgar Davids has revealled how his punch-up with Robbie Keane helped put Tottenham Hotspur on the threshold of the Champions League. The Dutch firebrand, known as ‘Pitbull’, scrapped with his team-mate as astonished colleagues looked on in disbelief. But two months later, Davids insists the bust-up added the extra touch of steel that has carried Spurs into the top four. Davids said: “Robbie and I had an argument and later on we spoke about it. It’s good because he said something that was on his chest and I said something, too. “Here you have people who are honest, tell it how it is and don’t beat about the bush. We had a discussion, talked about it and it was over and done, so we moved on.” Fear of transfer drives Cole Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole admits he is driven by the startling fear that he could still be sold by Jose Mourinho. Cole has battled his way from bit-part player to England World Cup certainty and Chelsea regular in two spectacular seasons at Stamford Bridge. Yet Cole (25) confessed he is preparing for another summer of insecurity and worry over his Stamford Bridge future. He said: “I keep on having to dig deeper and deeper to find more and improve my game because I’ve had to. Other players in the Chelsea and England sides have secured their places but I’m constantly having to fight and scrap to edge myself in front. “For instance, I won the title last season and during the last six months I really felt I had found my game and had achieved something. I went on holiday for a break. “Then all of a sudden my phone rings and I’m being told Chelsea have just signed two players for ’50 million in the two positions I play! “At that moment, I really thought the worst. I thought it might all be over for me and that here was a clear sign that I would be off.” Moyes hits out at Mourinho Everton boss David Moyes has accused his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho of showing a lack of dignity and ignoring British footballing traditions after his spat with Bryan Robson. West Brom boss Robson and Chelsea’s Portuguese manager were involved in several heated exchanges on the touchline during the champions’ 2-1 win in the Premiership last Saturday. But Moyes says there is no excuse for Mourinho not shaking Robson’s hand afterwards and believes it also wasn’t very British to snub Robson’s offer of a post-match drink. “Over here in this country you shake hands at the end of the game and you offer the other manager a drink,” said Moyes, whose side visit Stamford Bridge next month. ‘Actor’ Drogba taken to task Steve Watson has blasted Didier Drogba for diving during Chelsea’s 2-1 win at West Brom last Saturday. Drogba hit the deck theatrically despite minimal contact with Baggies midfielder Jonathan Greening during the second half of a heated contest. Referee Mark Halsey waved played on as the Cote d’Ivoire striker rolled around in agony. His antics left Bryan Robson fuming and Watson believes it is time for play-acting to be cut out of the game. The former Everton ace said: “The way Drogba went down, you had to assume he was hurt. But just five minutes later he’s up and not even limping. “As a defender you know what the rules are and you know what’s going to happen. If you get too tight to someone and they turn you, then they drop to the floor. “If you play in this league you have to accept it as an occupational hazard.”

March 2006
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