Benitez heads to Inter but Liverpool in no hurry

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The Independent Football

Liverpool may take a month before appointing a new manager, with prospective candidates having been made aware that there will be no discussions with prospective successors to Rafael Benitez for at least two weeks.

The club flatly rejected internet rumours last night that Kenny Dalglish, who will join managing director Christian Purslow in the search for Benitez's successor, may be about to take up the position himself, countering that it would be absurd for the recruiter to appoint himself. But Liverpool are in no rush to seek a manager they hope will bring stability where previously there was a sense of dysfunction between the proprietors and the manager.

They are looking for a manager with European experience among other qualities and Fulham's Roy Hodgson appears to be the lead candidate, though neither Martin O'Neill nor Mark Hughes should be discounted.

Meanwhile, Benitez will be appointed today as manager of Internazionale, replacing Jose Mourinho after his departure to Real Madrid and completing an extraordinary week since he and Liverpool agreed his £6m payoff last Thursday.

Inter's president Massimo Moratti confirmed yesterday that Benitez has agreed a deal and the Spaniard is due to arrive in Milan today ahead of finalising his move to the European champions. "We have agreed the final details, which were not important things. Tomorrow we shall present Rafa Benitez," Moratti said.

He added that the agreement with the 50-year-old had been "more or less done" and was confident the details would be finalised today. Reports in Italy had suggested Benitez would sign a three-year deal worth €5m per season, but Moratti dismissed those claims as "off track" in terms of "duration and the amount".

Moratti said the only thing outstanding was a counter-signature to complete the deal. "We've reached agreement, we've finalised the last details which regardless weren't important, and [next] we'll announce when Rafa Benitez will be presented," Moratti said.

Benitez may wish to take his Anfield assistant Mauricio Pellegrino, goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero and fitness coach Paco de Miguel with him to San Siro, with Italian Amedeo Carboni – who played under Benitez as a midfielder at Valencia – also touted as a possible backroom addition.

Benitez was also strongly linked with a move to Inter's Serie A rivals Juventus. The Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano, one of the Spaniard's players at Liverpool, suggested that Benitez would be a ideal perfect choice for Inter.

Mascherano said: "Only Benitez could take the place of a coach like Mourinho. He is a great coach. He has charisma, personality, a winning mentality.

"He will find himself brilliantly suited to the game in Italy because of the tactics. Rafa studies everything on the table and directs the team from the bench like an orchestra conductor. After Mourinho, he is the only man capable of continuing Inter's winning run."

After Inter ended their 45-year wait to win their third European Cup against Bayern Munich last month they required a coach with European pedigree after Mourinho decided to head for Real. Benitez certainly has that, having guided Valencia to the Uefa Cup in 2004 and taken Liverpool to the European Cup the following year. However have also won Serie A for the past five years – anything less than a scudetto next season will be seen as failure.

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