Benitez claims Hicks and Gillett stifled Liverpool's Jovetic move

Rafael Benitez has hit out at former Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in his new book, ‘Champions League Dreams’, claiming the pair caused the financial problems that saw them fail to land Fiorentina star Stefan Jovetic.

The Spanish coach also asserts the owners required him to be “a bank manager rather than a football manager” and cites the lack of funds made available for the Jovetic move as the principle reason for failing to challenge Manchester United’s domestic dominance.

In his new book, Benitez states: “Attempting to work in the transfer market that summer was almost impossible.

“We knew we would need cover and support for Fernando Torres, as David Ngog was still developing, and we had raised the cash to find it.

“The player we identified to fill that role was Stevan Jovetic, a young Montenegro forward playing for Fiorentina in Italy.

“The funds we thought we had available would also have stretched to another central defender, to provide cover for Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.

“The two players we had identified were Sylvain Distin, then with Portsmouth, and West Ham’s Matthew Upson, both boasting abundant Premier League experience.

“Signing one of those two, plus the tall, powerful, intelligent Jovetic, would have given Liverpool the squad we needed to build on the previous year’s title challenge, when we had run Manchester United so close.”

Unfortunately for Benitez and Liverpool, it soon materialised that the funds thought to be available had been used elsewhere within the club, without the manager’s approval or knowledge.

“Liverpool, though, was no longer a football club,” he added. “It was a business.

“The money, which we wanted to use to take Liverpool on to the next level, was all gone.

“We would be punished for the disappearance of that money – and our failure to sign Jovetic – again and again that season.

“That was supposed to be our year, the season it all came together. Instead it was a long, hard campaign, a battle from start to finish.”

And with the club’s financial decisions being made to mollify the banks, Benitez argues he had become more bank manager than football manager.

“For five years I had been a football manager at Liverpool,” he continued. “By the start of my sixth, it was clear I had become something else entirely. I was suddenly supposed to be a bank manager.

“Decisions were being made to appease the banks, not the fans. That is how serious the situation with the owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, had become.”

Manchester United prepared to sell Brazilian midfielder Anderson

By Greg Stobart

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to cash in on Brazilian misfit Anderson after losing faith in the former Porto star.

Anderson has frustrated United with his lack of improvement since joining the club in 2007 and conversations were held over the summer about selling the 24-year-old, with Benfica and Tottenham linked with the 24-year-old.

United would want to recoup as much of the £18m (€22.5m) they paid to sign the all-action midfielder as possible in order to re-invest in the squad, with Ferguson understood to be keen to upgrade his central midfield options.

Anderson made just 10 Premier League appearances last season and has been blighted by injuries since arriving at Old Trafford, prompting Ferguson to raise concerns about his future.

“He hasn’t really realised his potential, which is there for all to see,” said Ferguson in April. “He is a fantastic footballer. I just hope he doesn’t have the bad luck that Michael Owen has had throughout his career.”

United are in no rush to sell Anderson in January, with the player under contract until 2015, but a departure next summer appears likely unless he can turn around his career this term.

United were interested in signing Mousa Dembele from Fulham before he joined Tottenham for £15m (€18.8m) last month, with Old Trafford sources citing the Belgian was considered as a potential replacement for Anderson.

Fergie has been waiting for Anderson to burst into life but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen because he’s not got back on track since his cruciate knee ligament injury in 2010,” a United source told Goal.com. “He’s definitely considered available for the right offer, but a young player on a long contract won’t be sold on the cheap.”

Ferguson has scouted a number of midfield targets as he looks for a long-term replacement for 37-year-old Paul Scholes and has been told he will be allowed to re-invest proceeds from player sales.

Portuguese winger Nani could also be sold as he continues to haggle over a new contract, with two years remaining on his existing deal.

United made their mark in the transfer market in the summer as they look to claim back the Premier League title, signing Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner.

Manchester City to tie David Silva to new deal & ward off Real Madrid interest

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | UK Chief Correspondent

David Silva is close to agreeing a five-year €240,000-a-week contract with Manchester City, Goal.com has learned.

City officials have held three meetings with the Spanish playmaker’s advisers this summer and have agreed the basic terms of a deal that will take him into the top bracket of earners at the club.

Contrary to some reports, negotiations between the two parties have progressed smoothly and the Premier League champions are confident they have warded off interest from Real Madrid to keep Silva.

Madrid officials have been monitoring the 26-year-old throughout the summer – although responding to rumours that the Bernabeu outfit were preparing an official bid, Silva’s agent Julio Llorente played down talk of a move in June, stating: “We are ignoring the plans of Real Madrid because he is very integrated at City and winning the Premier League has only increased his commitment to the club.”

As Goal.com revealed in March, City were ready to extend the terms of a player whose current contract expires in 2014.

It is understood that the Premier League champions have held three sets of face-to-face talks with Silva’s camp, two in Spain – including one meeting in Barcelona – and a third one in Manchester.

It is likely the new contract will run until 2017 in line with that of manager Roberto Mancini, who agreed a five-year deal in the summer. 

City are uneasy at key players entering the final two years of their contracts but are mindful of the considerations of Uefa’s new financial fair play rules and conscious that they want Silva’s deal to fall into the right accounting year so they can demonstrate progress is being made in balancing the books.

Nevertheless, there are not believed to be any obstacles to a fresh deal and the 26-year-old’s pay will leap from its present €175,000 mark to elevate him alongside Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez in the top tier of City earners.

City recognise how important it is to hold on to Silva, who blossomed into one of the outstanding players in the Premier League during their 2011-12 title-winning campaign, his second season in England.

Speaking towards the end of last season, Silva said he was settled in England and praised manager Roberto Mancini for giving him an integral role in the team.

“I am very happy in England, I have two years left on my contract and I want to see it out,” Silva said. “Right now, I do not want to return [to Spain], I am enjoying life in England, people treat me wonderfully and I want to continue enjoying this.

“Mancini has complete trust in me, which is very important for a player and I am very happy. My team-mates are adapting well to my game and that is very good for me.”

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Roberto Carlos: Anzhi do not want to sign Cristiano Ronaldo

Roberto Carlos - Anzhi

Roberto Carlos, al frente del Anzhi / Getty

Roberto Carlos has made it clear that Anzhi Makhachkala are not interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid at this point.

The Portugal international recently revealed that he’s unhappy at the Liga champions, and has since been linked with a move away from Madrid on more than one occasion.Nevertheless, Roberto Carlos has stressed that the prolific attacker is not on Anzhi‘s wish-list for now.

“Lots of people have asked me whether Anzhi are after Cristiano Ronaldo. I haven’t come here to sign Cristiano, though,” the Anzhi director stated to Marca.

“Cristiano is happy here. If he doesn’t want to celebrate his goals, then us, the people watching the games will celebrate them for him.

“He shouldn’t worry, people like him a lot. Problems can be resolved.”

The former Brazil international then went on to stress that Anzhi do intend to add to their ranks in the next transfer window.

“We are, however thinking about signing some quality players for next season.”

Tottenham anger with Porto threatens fresh Moutinho move

By Greg Stobart

Tottenham remain interested in signing Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho in January but are unlikely to offer the €30 million fee agreed between the clubs on the final day of the summer transfer window.

Spurs are understood to be angry with Porto’s conduct after the Portuguese champions reneged on €27.5m deal on the final day of August and then submitted contractual documents that contained irregularities.

The Londoners failed in their attempts to sign Moutinho, with the player’s personal terms providing an obstacle before Porto raised the asking price to €30m in the final hour of the window.

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas is a huge admirer of Moutinho and wants chairman Daniel Levy to make a renewed bid for the 25-year-old in January as he considers the playmaker a perfect replacement for Luka Modric, who joined Real Madrid this summer in a €41m deal.

Tottenham sources say the club will not match the €30m fee agreed in the final hour of the summer and believe a deal for Moutinho will be even more difficult in January after Porto sold Hulk to Zenit St Petersburg in a transfer worth €40m.

“On a point of principle, there is very little chance that Spurs will offer £24m [€30m] for Moutinho again,” a Spurs source told Goal.com. “There are plenty of good players out there and we are always looking for value in the market.”

While Villas-Boas still considers Moutinho his top summer target, the club will assess in the coming months where they need to improve in the New Year.

Despite their failure to land Moutinho, the Londoners signed Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey over the summer.

Meanwhile, Spurs will move into their new €50m training base in Enfield this week as the players return from international duty.

The club hope the state-of-the-art training centre will give the first-team a boost after a disappointing start to the Premier League in which they have secured just two points from their first three fixtures.

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