Josemi talks over Anfield deal

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The Independent Football

Liverpool confirmed yesterday that they are in talks to sign the Spanish utility defender Josemi from Malaga.

The 24-year-old is set to become the first major signing for Liverpool's new Spanish coach, Rafael Benitez.

"I was speaking to Benitez, he has put his faith in me and I will work to make sure things turn out well," Josemi said. "It was an offer I couldn't refuse. I am really happy because this is an unbeatable opportunity. If I was ever going to leave Malaga, it was for something like this."

Josemi, who is able to play at right-back and in the centre of defence, began his career at his home-town club Torremolinos before moving to Malaga as a teenager. He is considered a future Spain international.

Elsewhere, Simon Walton is unlikely to forget his senior debut for Leeds United. The 16-year-old midfielder scored his side's opening goal from the penalty spot, and was then sent off for two rash tackles as they drew 2-2 against Valencia yesterday.

He was given a standing ovation by the 19,565 fans at Elland Road, who may have sensed a natural successor to David Batty and Alan Smith. It was the only black spot during an encouraging second-half performance by Leeds, who came back from two soft first-half goals to square matters at 2-2, thanks to Matthew Spring's long-range free-kick.

The Leeds manager, Kevin Blackwell, was clearly impressed and said he would not be trying to change the teenager, who is two weeks into his Academy training.