Benitez to ‘sign new deal by Christmas’

Former Liverpool Echo journalist Chris Bascombe claims Reds manager Rafa Benitez will sign a two-year extension to his contract by Christmas.

The Spaniard’s current deal expires in summer 2010, having signed a one-year extension on the deal he first signed when he arrived at the club in 2004.

It has been well documented that Benitez himself wants stability at the club and is keen to sign a longer contract to secure his future, and reportedly those of many players whose futures are dependent on the manager’s.

Bascombe, now a journalist for the News of the World, writes:

“Following talks with American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, both parties are confident a deal will be struck before Christmas.

Although Bascombe was highly criticised on Merseyside for his defection to the NoTW, he remains a source of good information, having broke the news of the American owners’ approach for Jurgen Klinsmann and essentially lifting the lid of the rift between them and Benitez almost a year ago.

Further good news for Liverpool supporters arrives in the form of Bascombe claiming the contract extension is “directly related to their plan to sell the Anfield club.” Claiming they have been advised that any uncertainty over the manager will make the club unattractive to prospective buyers.

Bascombe states:

“Hicks and Gillett know they must sell before July because of their £350million debt ‘” and key players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will also be in line for deals in 2009.”

Liverpool fans will be hoping both parts of the report are true and look forward to Benitez remaining at the club and Hicks and Gillett moving on.