Friday’s Rumour Mill: Benayoun wants to stay

So, the Winker is finally leaving Old Trafford and taking his pantomime antics to Madrid. The ridiculous money involved now means United are signing half the planet; Ribery, Benzema and Antonio Valencia are nailed on according to the mass media.

Meanwhile, back over on Merseyside there are no real new developments on incoming or outgoing players. Although Ronaldo’s move to Madrid, coupled with Kaka’s arrival and the apparent impending purchase of David Villa means Real are to be left with an abundance of forwards. One of those is Javier Saviola – who was linked with a move to Anfield after Robbie Keane’s departure in January. He is out-of-favour at the Bernabeu and only has a year left to run on his contract so could be available for less than £5m.

Yesterday Yossi Benayoun was linked with a move to Barcelona, but the Israeli captain insists he is happy at Anfield and won’t be going anywhere unless something “surprising” happens:


‘œAt the moment, I am a Liverpool player, and unless something surprising happens, I will remain one. But after such a good season, I have had some offers from England and Spain. You have to give that some consideration, so there will probably be some discussions with Liverpool.

‘œI have had a great two years at Anfield and enjoyed every minute. I have long since accepted that, with one or two notable exceptions, there is no such thing as an automatic choice at Liverpool.

‘œUnless you are Steven Gerrard, you are going to sit out one or two games, but that is no problem. Stevie is exceptional, and the rest of us accept that.’

Benayoun had an impressive end to the season and showed his worth with important goals such as the late winner at Fulham. In my opinion he is a worthy squad player who can offer something different to others in the squad, I’d like to see him stay.

ArbeloaAnother player linked with a summer departure is full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, although that looks likely to be reliant upon a replacement being found, with Portsmouth’s Glen Johnson still the top target. His display for England, albeit agains the mighty Andorra, on Wednesday will no doubt have alerted other club’s to his potential and any bid to sign him won’t be easy. The Mirror reports Man City are willing to pay an incredible £18m for Johnson – with Liverpool valuing the 24 year old at more like £10m.

Arbeloa is said to be attracting interest from Atletico Madrid and with the player even last summer rumoured to be seeking a return to his homeland a move could happen.

One full-back is almost certain to leave is Andrea Dossena, who has asked for a move, with Juventus looking favourites to sign the Italian. The Mirror reports the fee will be around £6.5m.

One player who continues to be linked with Liverpool – despite denials from Rafa Benitez earlier in the week – is Napoli forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. Although, the man doing all the talking is his agent so maybe a pinch of salt be taken with whatever he says; “I reiterate that a Fifa agent presented Napoli with an offer from Liverpool for Lavezzi” he said.

Finally, it looks like George Gillett has found a buyer for his Montreal Canadiens side meaning he will be in a better position to enable RBS and Wachovia to extend the £350m loan he and Tom Hicks currently have until the end of the month.