Monday, January 12, 2009

Rafa the rebel: Liverpool boss Benitez in power battle over transfers

Rafa Benitez is locked in a power battle off the pitch as well as on it after taking on Liverpool's American owners over the terms of his proposed new contract.

While his outspoken attempt to rein in rival boss Sir Alex Ferguson was met with astonishment over the weekend, Benitez's bid to have complete control over transfers written into his deal has caused as much consternation with Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Liverpool's co-owners thought an agreement had been reached before Christmas and that Benitez's future had been secured on improved terms of about £80,000 a week over the next four-and-a-half years.
Although he is happy financially, Benitez is holding out for a greater say in how the club is run and wants full control over transfers.
Perturbed at what he perceived as a lack of support over his £15million pursuit of Aston Villa's England midfielder Gareth Barry last summer, Benitez wants to spend any funds exactly as he sees fit. It has not gone down well with Hicks and Gillett, who feel he should not be trying to dictate terms.
The stand-off has cast fresh doubt over Benitez's future. With 17 months left on his current deal, he confirmed a lack of progress is causing him concern by saying: 'I was talking with my agent and he did not have any news on the contract. He is not very happy about that.'
Benitez's outburst against Ferguson is unlikely to have gone down well with the owners, either. They view it as unnecessary as well as untimely, but he has escaped FA disciplinary action.

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