Liverpool insist Real Madrid's 23m valuation of Xabi Alonso is 'nowhere near' enough
Perez has made it clear Alonso is his primary midfield target as he looks to rebuild Madrid after his unopposed election victory last week and yesterday admitted: "Xabi is a magnificent Spanish player, so of course we would love to have him. But everything would involve reaching an agreement with Rafa Benitez. It will need to be an agreement which is in the interests of both clubs." Real had hoped to land the former Real Sociedad player for around £23 million, but sources at Anfield believe that is "nowhere near" the amount Benitez would hope to accumulate if Alonso left. Madrid will be buoyed, though, by suggestions that Alonso has his heart set on a move back to Spain and has informed the Liverpool manager of his desire to bring his five years on Merseyside to a close. Benitez sees Alonso as a core member of the "spine" of his side, along with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina, and, while he had countenanced his departure while Gareth Barry remained an alternative, the latter's move to Manchester City has changed his plans. The funds raised by selling Alonso at a premium and replacing him with the more economical Barry would have supplemented the £20 million Benitez was promised upon signing his contract extension in March – thought not to have been affected by the scale of Liverpool's financial troubles – but the Liverpool manager knows now selling Alonso would serve only to add another name to his transfer wish list. Liverpool's lack of success in the market so far suggests that is the last thing Benitez needs. As well as failing to land Barry, he looks more likely than ever to miss out on David Silva, in talks with Real Madrid, while he has lost considerable ground on Carlos Tevez. Daniel Pranjic, the Croatian international seen as a back-up should the move for Silva falter, is now on the verge of joining Bayern Munich. Benitez remains interested in the Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, although Liverpool's attempts to arrange talks with the Italian club have so far foundered. "The [£18 million] offer is real," said Eduardo Rossetto, Lavezzi's agent. "Pierpaolo Marino [Napoli's technical director] has met with an intermediary twice, who invited him to meet with the English club. "We do not want to force Napoli to sell the player but we think they should at least consider the offer. Napoli have taken an extreme position and we will respond in kind."
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