Bellamy price too steep for Villa

Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy has been appointed as the
next captain of the Welsh National side, but received the news on the same day
as Martin O'Neill declared he couldn't afford to sign the player.

Bellamy's dream move to his boyhood idols last summer looks
like being a short-term experience for a player who seems destined to always
attract trouble. The infamous golf-club incident in Portugal earlier in the
season made Rafa Benitez's decision about the players' future easier to resolve
– but he's not going to be sold at a knock-down price.

Despite the incident just before the Barcelona Champions League
game infuriating the manager, he would be prepared to keep him, even if only
for cover, rather than sell him for less than what he feels he is worth. And at
the moment Rafa feels he is worth between £10m and £12m.

Aston Villa aren't the only side interested in signing the
player, with his previous club Blackburn also keen to bring him back, and
fast-spending West Ham also said to keeping an eye on the player. However it
does seem unlikely that Blackburn would be willing to pay twice the price they
sold him for last summer.

O'Neill is familiar with Bellamy after he brought him to
Celtic on loan a couple of years back, a loan that came about because of a
bust-up at his then club Newcastle United.

The news about him becoming next Wales captain was made
after current captain Ryan Giggs announced he would be retiring from
international football. Bellamy has 45 caps and captained the side twice
earlier this season during Giggs' absence.

Speaking about the new role for the striker, former
Liverpool player and current Welsh boss John Toshack said: "Craig is something
of a character, but I have complete faith in him as Wales' new captain on a
permanent basis. I immediately took Craig aside and told him he would be taking
over when Ryan had left."

Despite Bellamy's bad-boy tag, some of it is exaggerated and
unfair, and a court case was thrown out earlier this year after the girls
accusing Bellamy and his friend of assault in a nightclub were pretty much
shown in court not to be telling the truth. The mud sticks, but Toshack is
confident he's made the right choice: "Without a shadow of a doubt he is the
right man for the job. He did it very well earlier in the season. He is
committed to Wales and I would accept he is very vocal about things, but I had
no doubt in appointing him captain on a permanent basis when Ryan leaves us."

As for Bellamy's future at Anfield, well a lot of that
depends on how successful Rafa Benítez is on the transfer market this summer.
The Spanish press are now claiming Liverpool have made a ridiculous offer of
£40m for the Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o. Liverpool are certainly interested in the player, but he's not the only striker on their radar.