Benitez sets sights on Coloccini

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Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, is set to make a move for Milan's Argentinian centre-half Fabricio Coloccini in an attempt to add muscle to his defence.

Coloccini could be on his way to Anfield in a cut-price move - either for a £3.5m fee or on loan for the season.

Coloccini, 22, belongs to Milan but has spent the past three seasons in Spain with temporary deals to Alaves, Atletico Madrid and Villareal. Last season he was a key part of the Villareal side that reached the semi-final of the Uefa Cup.

Benitez likes his physical and skilful style, and watched him regularly when he was in charge of Valencia.

He has already put feelers out for Coloccini, who had a reputation for being volatile in Italy, and may now make a formal bid. However, a loan move to Liverpool might help all parties, knocking more rough edges off Coloccini in the process, although Liverpool are equally keen to recruit Coloccini on a permanent basis.

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, has turned down an approach to become the new coach of Germany.

The Highbury club are expected to complete the signing of the Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia from Celta Vigo within the next 48 hours.

Crystal Palace yesterday agreed a £2m fee for the highly rated Australia midfielder Tim Cahill from their South London neighbours Millwall. The 24-year-old, who scored the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Sunderland last season, has yet to agree personal terms and pass a medical.

Terry Venables has signed a one-year deal to coach Newcastle in the new Australian Premier League.

Boston are to hold further talks with Paul Gascoigne to try to bring the former England midfielder in as a coach.