Benitez blocks Birmingham swoop for Babel

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The Independent Football

Ryan Babel's future at Liverpool remains unclear, with Anfield boss Rafael Benitez maintaining that the winger has said he does not want to leave the club.

Liverpool have rejected a £9m bid from Birmingham for the Holland international.

Babel has frequently complained about his lack of senior games this season and is known to be concerned about his position in Holland's World Cup squad.

But Benitez said: "I have not said that Ryan has to leave the club. We received an offer for the player and he said that he did not want to leave the club.

"Therefore we rejected the offer. He is a good player and he works hard, I want him in the squad."

Benitez is aware that any big money raised from transfers during the current transfer window is likely to be stockpiled for use in the summer rather than mid-season, so there is no real desire from the manager to sell Babel.

Two players are on their way out of Anfield. Full-back Andrea Dossena has completed a medical and agreed a £4.5million move to Napoli, with Benitez saying: "All that is needed now is for the paperwork to be completed."

Striker Andriy Voronin is in a similar position regarding a £2m move to Dynamo Moscow. Benitez said: "That deal is also nearing completion.

"They are both different to Babel. They both were not playing many matches and wanted to play regularly elsewhere."

The move to bring winger Maxi Rodriguez from Atletico Madrid is not yet concluded.

The player is believed to have agreed an 18-month contract, subject to a medical.

Benitez says: "We have talked with Madrid and the players' advisors. But Rodriguez still has some issues to sort out with Madrid first."

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