Get the CaughtOffside iPad app. Download the #1 Free Sports App from the App Store.
All of the latest footie news and much, much more.
Anfield side set sights on Real Betis midfielder.
Liverpool are set to step up their pursuit of Spanish international Benat Etxebarria, undeterred by Real Betis’s insistence that any prospective suitor must meet the player’s release clause to have any hope of landing the midfielder who has been likened to Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso.
The 25 year old has 18 months to run on his current contract and has a €20m (£16.2m) clause that Brendan Rodgers is keen to meet. The Anfield boss will push Liverpool’s American owners to foot the bill for such a bid as he looks to strengthen his midfield.
The former Athletic Bilbao man has been in fine form over the past 18 months which has led to him being awarded his first senior Spanish cap in May.
Rodgers has had the stylish midfielder scouted on a number of occasions this season and is hopeful he can tempt Benat into making a move to the Merseyside club.
Benat has been a chief assist maker for the Andalusian side, propelling them from mid-table to fifth spot an a genuine push for a Champions League berth. Real Betis boss Pepe Mel would be loathed to lose the in-form playmaker but appears resigned to the prospect of speculative interest leading to a concrete offer for the midfielder.
On the subject Mel stated;
“Benat’s clause is €20million and he will only leave for €20million, to sell him for anything less would be a disaster. The club must defend its position and Benat knows that. To be able to go the market and find a replacement, the only number is €20million.”
Rodgers hopes to beef up a midfield that has looked brittle this term and has at time lacked invention. Loaned in Real Madrid youngster Nuri Sahin has spent time out injured and hasn’t made the impact the Northern Irish boss would have hoped and could well be sent back to the Bernabeu early.
Jordan Henderson has played himself into a decent run of form but is still not a player Rodgers has a great deal of faith in and whilst Steven Gerrard has seen a return to form of late summer signing Joe Allen has had an up and down time of it in his debut season at the club.
This has led to Brendan Rodgers looking to supplement his midfield quota with the addition of Benat and hopes that funds for such a move will be forthcoming this month.
Tickets still available for top football matches – Liverpool tickets