Benitez sets 48-hour deadline for Alonso to decide on Anfield future

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has told Xabi Alonso to make a decision once and for all on his Anfield future in the next 48 hours.

Alonso is spending two days with his family in his native San Sebastian and Benitez wants the player's future decided before he reports for training tomorrow. Liverpool have no intention of reducing their €30m (£26m) asking price for the player and it is now down to Alonso to find out if Real Madrid are prepared to meet the valuation or not. Benitez has made it clear to the Spain international that, with the start of the Premier League season looming for Liverpool, he will not tolerate the saga continuing beyond the end of this week.

Real Madrid have repeated in recent days that they will be making no more big signings until they can sell some of their unwanted stars. They had hoped to raise around £90m by releasing strikers Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Alvaro Negredo and Ruud van Nistelrooy as well as midfielders Wesley Sneijder, Mahamadou Diarra, Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart and defenders Gabriel Heinze and Royston Drenthe, but so far they have been unable to cash in on their surplus squad members.

For that reason they looked to have closed the door on the Alonso interest but, after their opening game of the Peace Cup in Spain ended in a disappointing draw with Saudi side Al-Ittihad, president Florentino Perez was back under pressure to meet Liverpool's asking price for Alonso.

The player's representatives are understood to have had discussions with Real and if the Spanish giants agree to pay the €30m up-front in one instalment, as Liverpool are requesting, then Benitez will immediately set about bringing in replacements, with Athletic Bilbao's Javier Martinez and Valencia's David Silva two possible options.

If Madrid continue to stall then Benitez will draw a line under the matter, leaving Alonso at Anfield for another season. Another player who wants the matter resolved as quickly as possible is defender Alvaro Arbeloa. He looks set to make the move to Madrid from Liverpool but is waiting to see if his switch will be part of the Alonso deal or a separate operation.

Arbeloa last night denied that ill-feeling between Benitez and Alonso was behind the midfielder's desire to switch to Spain. He said: "Xabi was my room-mate on the tour and we have both spoken to Rafa. He knows the situation and he has made his feelings clear to us both. My relationship with him is good and I think with Xabi there is also mutual respect."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system