'I will be here many years,' says Benitez

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The Independent Online

Rafael Benitez has confirmed that he intends to be Liverpool's manager for "a lot of years" after discussions with the club over a new contract. The Spaniard is expected to tie up the final details of a one-year extension to his current deal - in effect a new four-year contract with a significant wage rise following the club's European Cup triumph - in the near future.

Benitez has made it clear he expects to be able to make a genuine attempt to win the Premiership title in the next few seasons. That means significant transfer funds are needed, putting added pressure on the chief executive, Rick Parry, who also has to find the major investors to fund the new Stanley Park stadium.

Benitez said: "I want to stay here to win trophies. I have not talked to the club about any demands - we will work and try to do our best to sign the best players. We all have the same idea. They know we need to improve and to find investors. They are working on this and I have confidence in them.

"We are also working on the players that we need. I have had support and I want to respond to that.

"I will be here a lot more years, we are talking about the future, but at this moment just talking. We are close to agreements and I want to finish this speculation by saying I want to stay and I am happy here."

Benitez is currently on around £2.5m a year, so a new deal would push his four-year package closer to £15m. The new stadium costs, revealed at the recent AGM, have risen to £180m and a minimum transfer fund to compete with the top clubs would be around £80m over four years.

The sums are frightening but Benitez, dismissing talk of a move to Real Madrid or Internazionale, wants to stay to make them work. He said: "When you are at a big club and win the Champions' League it is normal that big clubs not only talk about players but also the manager. But my relationship with people in the club is fantastic and we will try to do our best to help the club grow.

"I am really focused on winning games and improving my team. I know that if we have more money it will be better, but if we do not have more money then we have to work harder with the scouting. Me and all the managers in the world would like to see a lot of money for buying players but in this case I have never demanded anything.

"I want to improve and the board think the same way - the same as the supporters. There are exciting times ahead. When I decided to come to Liverpool, it was because it was a big club fighting for titles.

"We have won two [Champions' League and European Super Cup] and we will try to improve to win more. The Premier League can be the target for the next season, that will be difficult for sure but that is our idea. I do not know how far we are away from being able to challenge Chelsea, I only want to think about the next game and we will see about next season.

"I am proud when big clubs talk about me, I must be doing something right. But I want to be here and win trophies with my club."

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