Liverpool agree terms for Alonso

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The Independent Football

Liverpool have reached a "preliminary agreement" with Real Sociedad to sign the Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso for £10.7m. But the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, may not be able to complete the transfer until after Spain's friendly against Venezuela tonight.

Liverpool have reached a "preliminary agreement" with Real Sociedad to sign the Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso for £10.7m. But the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, may not be able to complete the transfer until after Spain's friendly against Venezuela tonight.

Another Spaniard, Antonio Nunez, was the latest of the summer imports to arrive at Anfield yesterday when the midfielder completed his transfer from Real Madrid as part of the deal which took Michael Owen to the Bernabeu.

Nunez completed his medical and has signed a three-year contract. Real Madrid paid £8m for Owen plus the £3m-rated Spaniard. Nunez joins yet another compatriot, Josemi, whom Benitez signed from Malaga for £2m.

That would put a question mark over the future of Dietmar Hamann, who is in the last year of his contract, while Tottenham are believed to have made an approach to sign the Republic of Ireland right-back Steve Finnan, who has lost his place to Josemi.

Spurs need a replacement for Stephen Carr, whom they sold to Newcastle last week, and Finnan, who could go for £2m, fits the bill.

Alonso's agent, Inaki Ibanez, insists the deal for the young Spaniard is done and that Real Madrid are no longer trying to sign the player.

Ibañez said: "The crossing of Xabi Alonso to Liverpool is practically done. On the part of the player everything is closed and now there are only small details between the clubs to be done."

Alonso is expected to become a Liverpool player after passing a medical.

Nunez, a 25-year-old right-sided midfielder who made 10 appearances for Real last season, trained with his new team-mates at Melwood after passing a medical and has been allocated the No 12 shirt.

He said: "Even if Owen hadn't signed for Madrid, I already had an offer from Liverpool and I knew that the manager was keen to sign me, which is something to be proud of. Last season, I found out how hard it would be to play at Real and I know Liverpool will be the same, but I hope to get some more minutes on the pitch.

"It is never going to be satisfactory, leaving the best team in the world but playing for Liverpool is a dream come true for any player."

Liverpool have also been linked with the £6m-rated Barcelona winger Luis Garcia but the sporting director at Barça, Txiki Begiristain, said: "No representatives from Liverpool have contacted the player and he's not come and talked money with us.

"However, we want our players here to be happy and to want to play for Barça. If any of them don't feel right here, then we'll try to sort it out."

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