March - 2008

2603: Reports: Barca eye Benitez
0903: Bolton chase Liverpool defender
0403: Bayern keen on Kuyt 





Reports: Barca eye Benitez

By Lucas Brown & Francisco Acedo - Sky Sports

Reports emanating from Spain claim Rafa Benitez is Barcelona's first choice to replace Frank Rijkaard, should the Dutchman leave Camp Nou in the summer.

The Blaugrana boss has come under increased pressure this season as Barca trail arch rivals Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga.

Barca president Joan Laporta is thought to be considering Rijkaard's role, with Jose Mourinho strongly linked with a return to the club where he worked at the formative stage of his career, under both Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal.

However, according to Spanish dailies El Mundo Deportivo and Marca, it is Liverpool boss Benitez that occupies Laporta's thoughts.

Barca's board is thought to be split on who should come in should Rijkaard depart, with directors Ferran Soriano and Marc Ingla known to favour Mourinho.

It is, though, Laporta's opinion that carries most weight in the boardroom and if reports are to be believed, then it is Benitez that tops the club's wish-list.

Benitez's future on Merseyside has been the subject of conjecture for quite some time, with his disagreements with the club's American owners well documented.

Liverpool's failure to mount a serious title tilt this season following a heavy summer of investment has done little to quell speculation either, although the Anfield faithful continue to back the man who delivered a European Cup in 2005.

Benitez's hugely successful spell at Valencia ensures his stock shines bright in his homeland, but whether Barcelona make an approach in the summer could well depend on how their campaign concludes both domestically and in Europe.

Bolton chase Liverpool defender

Lancashire Evening Post

Bolton boss Gary Megson is hoping Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia doesn't sign a new deal at Anfield.

The Bolton chief is keen on 34-year-old Liverpool centre-back Hyypia, who is coming to the end of his contract.

The Reds have indicated they would like to give the defender a one-year extension and the Finn is tempted to stay, the News of the World says.

Megson feels Hyypia's experience would be a great addition to his squad if they beat the drop this season and could offer him better wages than Liverpool as a free agent.

Bayern keen on Kuyt

By Adam Marshall - Setanta Sports

Reports in Holland claim that Bayern Munich will consider launching a bid in the summer for Liverpool striker
Dirk Kuyt.

The Dutch forward has only three Premier League goals to his name this term and has struggled to find his best form, although he has often been deployed out of position by Rafa Benitez.

From a wide role on Sunday, he managed to hit the woodwork in the lead-up to Ryan Babel's goal and Kuyt crucially broke the deadlock against Inter in the Champions League at Anfield recently.

Nevertheless, Dutch magazine Sportweek claims Bayern are monitoring his situation on Merseyside closely with a view to considering an approach during the close season.

The Bundesliga leaders could lose one of their front trio of Luca Toni, Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose and Kuyt would be a suitable replacement.

Liverpool paid 9 million to Feneyoord for the 27-year-old and are unlikely to even contemplate any transfer business at the moment as they focus on chasing down Everton in fourth place in The Premier League and progressing at the expense of Inter in the Champions League.

Thor Zakariassen