Balague rubbishes Eto’o talk

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague says there is no way that Barcelona striker Samual Eto’o is part of Rafa Benitez’s transfer plans for the summer, dismissing recent reports that linked the Cameroon international with a move to Anfield.

Balague says that Barcelona’s asking price for the 28 year old and his wages will be well out of Liverpool’s budget. He says Eto’o would have been a good striker at Liverpool, but Benitez opted to sign Fernando Torres instead.

Posting on, the pundit said, ‘œHe is having an excellent season at Barcelona and, despite the fact that his current contract finishes in 2010, he will not be easy to get hold of and his transfer alone could total around €15 million. Add to that figure his €7.5 million a year wages and we are talking about a deal that is well in excess of Liverpool`s anticipated budget and current salary structure.

‘œIt is true that there was once a time when Eto`o featured strongly in Rafa`s plans, but that was back when he was the preferred choice to Fernando Torres ‘“ and we all now how that scenario has finished up.’

Balague continued to confirm that the priority in Benitez’s mind right now is not signing new players, but keeping the stock he has got.

‘œThe focus, at the moment, is upon tying down players already at the club: upon getting them to commit to new contracts and, in addition to Gerrard, there are still a few more to be concluded. This will form the foundation for the future and not big budget high profile transfers of the kind that seem to have the message boards buzzing and is reflected in the kind of names readers are asking me about. Until the ownership issue is resolved, there is simply not that level of funding available.’