Rafael Benitez says Liverpool have 'enough' money to challenge in the transfer market
09 June 2009 06:38
The accounts of co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett's holding company, Kop Football, revealed last week that the club's debt had doubled in the past year.
Sources at Anfield are adamant that has no bearing on Benitez's funds in the transfer market, but it is hardly surprising the Spaniard has downgraded his ambitions in the transfer window from as many as five first-team additions to just one or two.
He said: "Clearly we don't have too much to spend but I think we have enough money to add the one or two players we need. We know the situation is not fantastic but I have a lot of confidence in the squad and we want to fight next year as we did this year.
"The priority was to extend the contracts of our key players, those players who are the spine of the side. Some clubs were asking for our players so we have spent some money to guarantee they stay."
That position will be weakened considerably if Javier Mascherano, the midfielder, is the subject of a £20 million bid from Barcelona. The player's agent, Walter Tamer, said on Tuesday that "if Barcelona really want him, he would sign for them".
Benitez would be loath to lose the Argentine – especially if Xabi Alonso also moves to Real Madrid – and is thought to be confident of keeping him at Anfield. The pair met towards the end of the season to hold talks the Spaniard described as "positive" and Benitez is believed to be aware of Tamer's propensity to agitate for a move.
Meanwhile, Liverpool's supporters' group, Spirit of Shankly, reacted furiously to Hicks and Gillett's withdrawal of £2 million in travel and legal expenses from the club.
A spokesman said: "It wouldn't hurt so much if we had any money to spend in the transfer market, but we are missing out on the players we need while the owners, who have not put a penny into the club, are now actively taking money out of it."