Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Liverpool to enquire about Heskey

Rafael Benítez has placed Emile Heskey top of his wish list for January despite facing a monumental task to persuade Aston Villa to grant the striker a return to Liverpool.

An experienced yet inexpensive forward is the transfer priority for the Liverpool manager next month as he attempts to revive the club's season and improve cover for Fernando Torres, who has not fully recovered from a hernia despite resting the problem for five weeks. Benítez wanted to bring Heskey back to Anfield in January this year before being priced out of it by Villa's £3.5m offer to Wigan.

The Liverpool manager remains keen on the England international, who turns 32 in January, and is prepared to test Martin O'Neill's resolve with an offer during the transfer window despite his prospects of success appearing minimal.

Not only is Benítez operating on limited resources at Liverpool, with his budget more likely to be shaped by any departures of such players as Ryan Babel, Andriy Voronin, Andrea Dossena and Philipp Degen, but Heskey's situation at Villa Park has improved dramatically since struggling to hold down a regular place in O'Neill's side at the start of this season.

The forward has alternated with John Carew during Villa's impressive rise, and scored three times in his last seven appearances. Heskey's lasting affection for Liverpool, where he spent four seasons under their former manager Gérard Houllier, may encourage Benítez but there is also the added complication of his fraught relationship with O'Neill.

The pair fell out spectacularly during the Gareth Barry saga in 2008 and, having missed out on Champions League qualification last season, it would be a major surprise if O'Neill weakened his squad for the benefit of a Premier League rival.

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