Cash crisis doesn't bother Benitez as Liverpool boss eyes new recruits
09 June 2009 05:33
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Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has revealed he was fully aware of the club's financial problems before he signed his new five-year contract in March.
And a defiant Benitez insists he is happy with his transfer budget and still aims to bring in top signings ahead of next season.
The Liverpool boss was speaking in the wake of the release of the club's worrying financial figures last week, underlining the need for prudence in the transfer market.
The damaging financial reality hit home when accounts, for the season 2007-08, showed Kop Holdings lost £42.6million on the year.
Kop Holdings is the company set up by under-fire American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to run Liverpool.
Although the football club made a £10m profit, that money was swallowed up in paying the interest on the loans taken out by the Americans to buy the club.
Benitez reveals he was working last season to tie key players to new contracts, fully aware of the financial straits at the club that would be exposed this summer.
He said: 'We spent some money to solve that situation, to guarantee the extension of those contracts. Now we need to improve a little bit because we are in a very good position.
'Yes, we knew it would be difficult, especially as there is a (financial) crisis all around the world.
'But when I decided to sign a five-year extension to my contract, I knew in my own mind that Liverpool is more than just a club, it is the heart of the city. It is our life.
'It means so much to a lot of people. We had to sign, we have to fight, we have to do it because we wanted to do it. The people in Liverpool are always fighters, they have done that all their lives.
'We know that. We also knew that the (financial) situation was not fantastic. But we still have a lot of confidence in our squad and we want to fight (for the title) again next season.'
Benitez, who has also dismissed claims he wants Napoli's Argentinian striker Ezequiel Lavezzi (right), continued: 'Every single year, every single week, every single day you can always talk to fans who say they are supporting you, supporting the team. 'You can see the passion is so strong and that makes a massive difference. This city has great passion, Everton fans have similar passion for their club and that is really good and our fans are amazing.
'When I talk with people in Spain (they are aware of it). Now we will go to the Far East in the summer and we will see the same thing, so many people talking about us and the club.
'It shows to me that this place is more than just a football club. It is clear that it is life to so many people.'
Benitez again maintained Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso is not for sale and he will fight to ensure Javier Mascherano does not fall into the hands of European champions Barcelona following remarks from the Argentinian's agent today suggesting a deal would suit the player.
Benitez said: 'Our position is very clear. We want to keep our best players and Xabi has done really well for us.
'Alonso has three years left on his contract so he is not for sale.'
And, concerning the financial restraints, Benitez is now crucially talking about only 'one or two' additions to his squad.
He added: 'I will not give any figures (about spending power) and I will keep working without saying anything on that. But we do not have too much money, that is clear. But we have enough money to add one or two players that we need.
'I am very happy with the squad, they have been really good and we have competed on every front so, if we can sign one or two players, I am really positive and believe that we can improve.
'I am also positive because I have spoken about Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard not playing in the same side too many times and I hope that will change.
'We have a very good squad if we can improve just a little bit. How much do we need to improve to win a title, will it be enough?
'Certainly it will be enough to compete like last season and again we will try to compete for all the trophies right to the end.
'We have always known the (financial) situation around the world would be difficult and we would see clubs asking about some of our players.
'So the priority was to keep the key players here on new (long-term) contracts. The players who are the spine of the team.'