Benitez admits he must sell before buying this summer

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Rafael Benitez has admitted that he must again sell before he can buy this summer but he has already identified his targets, with Valencia's David Silva, Raul Albiol and a return for Aston Villa's Gareth Barry seemingly in his sights.

Benitez's declaration that "maybe we have to sell someone" gives the lie to Sir Alex Ferguson's recent claim that "you will see Rafa produce an incredible spending spree" now he has his new contract. Ryan Babel would seem to be among those who Benitez might be prepared to sell, as well as Andrei Voronin – a major success on loan at Hertha Berlin, who cannot afford to buy him – and Andrea Dossena. Xabi Alonso, the subject of interest from Arsenal and Internazionale last summer, might also leave if Barry is to arrive, though Benitez seems prepared to fight to keep him after his successful season.

If last summer's drawn-out Barry affair is anything to go by, it could be a difficult summer with Liverpool possibly without a chief executive, if Tom Hicks and George Gillett have not found their man by then.

But Benitez's dependence on Fernando Torres makes the pursuit of another striker crucial. Much depends on whether an impoverished Valencia are willing to rein in their demands for Silva, which proved prohibitive when Benitez made initial inquiries. The same applies to Albiol.

Yossi Benayoun's major contribution in Steven Gerrard's absence has strengthened the future Anfield prospects of an individual who had made no secret of his dissatisfaction on the sidelines. "I think if he is happy, then he will be okay here. Yossi now is playing, so I'm sure he is happy. We've had no real approaches for him," Benitez said. "Now he is playing more games, has more confidence and you can see the quality that he has. I have to talk to him [about a new contract] but he is contracted for another two years."

The Liverpool manager also said he was confident of resolving the protracted contract talks with Daniel Agger. "I think that we are closer," Benitez said. "We know we have better players and it will be more difficult to find better players than we have now."