Anfield and White Hart Lane stars on San Siro radar.
Rafa Benitez hopes to take Glen Johnson or Gareth Bale to Inter Milan as a replacement for Real Madrid-bound Maicon.
The Italian champions are ready to cave in on their Brazil right back’s desire to be reunited with Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu and are expected to do a deal for about £25million with the Spaniards.
Inter had been hoping for nearer £30m – £10m more than Madrid’s valuation of the 28-year-old – but the European champions know that Maicon’s heart is set on following Mourinho.
Benitez sees his former Liverpool man Johnson as a like-for-like replacement as a defender who is comfortable getting forward down the right flank.
An alternative would be Tottenham Hotspur defender Bale, according to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, even though the Wales international operates down the opposite flank.
Argentina veteran Javier Zanetti and 19-year-old rising star Davide Santon have both played at left back but are equally comfortable down the right, opening the way for Inter to bid for Bale.
A move for either of the Barclays Premier League stars will be hard to complete. Bale, 20, is highly regarded in Italy and has also been tracked by AC Milan and Juventus.
However, Harry Redknapp is keen to hold on to the 20-year-old and reports in Italy claim that Spurs scared off Italian suitors in January by quoting an asking price approaching £20m. (Daily Mail)
Rafa must live in fear that his top quality players will be nabbed by Jose Mourinho but clearly is no averse to looking to raid his former club in a similar manner to the Real Madrid boss. Roy Hodgson’s first task at Anfield will be to make sure his players are happy and not looking for a Liverpool exit and a move to the Champions League winners may well tempt the England man but it seems highly unlikely the Merseyside club would sanction such a move.
Ditto at White Hart Lane. Having seen the way Gareth Bale has come back to life in the second half of last season, Harry Redknapp will not entertain bids for the Welsh international. So if Benitez does indeed lose Maicon he may well be better off looking to promote someone from within rather than planning Premier League raids.