ready to walk
out on Liverpool
By Simon Mullock - sundaymirror.co.uk
Rafa Benitez is threatening to quit Liverpool at the end
of the season - after a stunning decision to reject a fourth contract offer.
Anfield co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett expected Benitez to sign a
new deal on Friday that would keep him at the club until 2013 - as revealed
by Sunday Mirror Sport.
Talks were concluded on Thursday with both Americans convinced the
concessions they had granted over transfer policy, player and staff
contracts and the club's academy had finally gained Benitez's approval after
almost a year of wrangling.
But less than 24 hours later the two owners were left "shocked and confused"
by the Spaniard's latest refusal to put pen to paper.
Benitez, 48, has made it clear he is unwilling to commit to a deal while
Gillett and chief executive Rick Parry remain at Liverpool and doubts about
the long-term ownership of the club persist.
And while he has another season left on his contract, it is now likely he
will leave at the end of the current campaign.
Benitez rejected an offer from Real Madrid to become their coach in
December, the second time he had resisted overtures from them. But the power
struggle that has gripped Anfield for 18 months could open the door for a
return to the club he served as a coach.
Benitez feels the crumbling relationship between the two Americans makes it
impossible for him to do his job.
A source close to Benitez said: "It has been claimed that Rafa wants full
power on transfers, contracts and the academy, but what he really wants is
everyone at the club pulling in the same direction.
"The club are missing out on transfer targets and that contracts for players
and staff are not being done because things move too slowly. Rafa had
transfer targets lined up in January.
When he missed out on those because of how the club functions he realised it
could not continue. He has told the owners it would be impossible for him to
work another four years under these conditions."
Liverpool's owners have been stunned by Benitez's latest rejection and it
seems his tenure will continue next season only if a buyer can be found for
Reds eye Barca
By Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports
Liverpool are planning a move to lure Barcelona wonderkid
Gerard Deulofeu away from Camp Nou to Anfield.
Deulofeu is regarded as one of the best young prospects in European football
and scouts from a host of clubs have been tracking his progress.
Chelsea and Arsenal have both been strongly linked with the 14-year-old, but
Liverpool are hoping to steal a march on their rivals by bringing him to
Liverpool scout Paco de Gracia has recommended the youngster to Reds boss
Rafa Benitez as they look to pull off a similar coup to that which saw
Daniel Pacheco make the move from Barcelona to Anfield.
Reports emanating from Spain claim are now ready to firm up their interest
in Deulofeu by making an offer for his services.