Benitez hopes to retain Babel
As Rafael Benitez downgrades his summer transfer targets, Ryan Babel has made it clear he does not want to leave Anfield while two Spanish youngsters have been linked with the club as part of a reported possible deal to take Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. Increased financial restraints suggest the Liverpool boss is now looking at a different level of players to bring to Merseyside. And he has also intimated Babel still has a future at Liverpool, despite claims earlier in the summer the Dutch winger would be allowed to speak to other clubs. Babel, who now has confirmation Holland will be taking part in next summer's World Cup finals after recent qualifying results, is seemingly a player Benitez wants to retain rather than sell to raise transfer market cash. And there are again claims from Spain that once new Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has turned his attentions from signing Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, Alonso will once again be a target. Perez has made no secret of his desire to sign Alonso, and although he admitted such a move would be difficult, it did not stop the wily operator from naming him in his dream Real Madrid XI. Sources in Spain are now suggesting two Real youngsters could be part of a deal to take Alonso to the Bernabeu, despite Benitez's continued insistence the player is not for sale, and has three years left on his contract. But if Alonso, currently on Confederation Cup duty with Spain, intimates he wants to become involved in a second wave of Galactico signings in Madrid, then Benitez may have to consider the best deal for Liverpool. Benitez would want big money for Alonso, approaching £30million, but Spanish sports paper AS claim that strikers Alvaro Negredo and Alberto Bueno could be included in any deal.
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