Rumour Mill: Alonso, Aquilani latest

So the Xabi Alonso transfer saga rumbles on. His six minute brief appearance at the end of last night’s 3-0 defeat to Espanyol answered no questions and the rumour mill continues to grind Liverpool fans down throughout the world.

After yesterday’s friendly in Barcelona, Rafa Benitez reiterated his stance on the Alonso speculation.

‘œHe is our player and we want him to stay,’ said Benitez. So nothing we don’t know there.

The latest reports and rumours seem to suggest that Benitez is ready to reluctantly accept a bid of around £28million for the Spanish midfielder, down £7million on his original asking price.

However, time is ticking down as the new season fast approaches and Benitez is ready to shape his squad for the new campaign with only two friendlies left to play.

The Daily Mail reports today that Real Madrid officials met face-to-face with Christian Purslow, Liverpool’s interim chief executive, when the club was in Spain this weekend.

CHELSEA V AS ROMAMeanwhile if Alonso was to go, it looks as if Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani is number one on Benitez’s shortlist to replace him.

Reports in Italy over the weekend suggest that Roma are ready to accept an £18million bid from the Reds for the Italian midfielder.

Roma teammate Daniele DeRossi has hinted that Aquilani’s move to Anfield could be set up to go-ahead.

‘œIf it’s as it’s written in the papers, we will lose a great player,’ he said.

‘œBut if you think about his career I think it would be a good opportunity, he would grow a lot by being close to the best midfielder in the world – Steven Gerrard.’

Maybe someone out there knows something we don’t as well – on Aquilani’s Wikipedia page, someone has pencilled him in as part of the Liverpool squad.

Meanwhile Jamie Carragher has had his say on Michael Owen signing for Manchester United in this morning’s Independent.

“Signing Owen was a clever piece of business by United and he has started really well in pre-season,” said Carragher. “In a way I’m pleased he’s got a big move to a big club because he came in for a lot of criticism at Newcastle. Why? What did he do wrong up there?

“For me, Michael Owen is still a great player and great role model and I have this feeling he’ll be good for United. But he plays for our biggest rivals now so he’ll know I won’t want him to carry on scoring once the season starts.

“He’s scored a lot of goals in the first few games for United and I hope he scores a few more pre-season because I want him to do well. But as soon as the season starts I hope he has a drought.”