Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rafa cools down Masch & Alonso Speculations , rants City this time

Rafael Benitez used the unveiling of defender Glen Johnson to attack Manchester City's "money, money, money" approach to transfers.

The Liverpool boss splashed £17million on the England right-back, but paid substantially less than that to Portsmouth, who still owed money on the transfer of Peter Crouch.

Benitez stressed Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano would not be leaving, but said he found the market increasingly "crazy" to negotiate given the big spending of Manchester City and Real Madrid.

He also admitted he moved again for Gareth Barry, but was pipped to the post by City.

Benitez said: "We had to pay big money, the market is now crazy. It is all money, money, money now. But we were signing a good player, an England player, and that is very positive. He has a good mentality, and when I spoke to him first it was clear he wanted to come here.

"Things have changed. You have to adapt to a situation. Manchester City and big clubs in Europe are spending big money, so the market has changed and we have to work harder. You have to do that to stay at the level we are at because of the big money being spent here and abroad.''

City also wanted Johnson, but Benitez said: "It was difficult, some clubs are offering big money. But he wanted to come here, that was the difference. We did go back again for Barry, but as I said. it is all about money, money, money. It is as simple as that.''

On City's influence on the market and their prospects for next term, Benitez added: "City have signed a lot of good players, but that is no guarantee they will win anything. But it will be interesting to see what happens next season. But whatever happens, experience is more important and we feel that we have that to be in the top positions.

"If you spend big it is always easier to perform well. But when you have a good understanding between players that is also important. If they are together, they work hard, that is just as important.''

Benitez has also had to contend with a summer of transfer speculation over Alonso, wanted by Real Madrid, and Mascherano, a target for European champions Barcelona.

But although it is believed both players are being swayed by the advances of the Spanish club, Benitez made it clear that he does not want to sell and would like some loyalty shown by the pair.

He said: "I do not think Alonso or Mascherano will go. It is clear that they both are under contract with long-term agreements. That is it. There has been a lot of things written, a lot of rumours, but both players are under contract and we have no more need to talk about things.

"They are both very good players and I will be very pleased to keep them. They both have very good contracts. We signed them both from different situations. Alonso was coming from Real Sociedad and nobody had really heard much of him outside of Spain, he did well and we renewed his contract because of that.

"Mascherano came from West Ham where he had not been doing well. We brought him here and gave him a good contract, so we are very pleased with them both and that Liverpool has been very good to them.''

Benitez also dismissed rumours that full back Fabio Aurelio will be out for six months with a knee injury. He said: "One, maybe two months, I expect him back by then. Certainly not six.''

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