Defence targets named, Baros nearer to exit

Rafael Benitez said Monday press reports linking Liverpool with central defenders on the continent are true but said he is no nearer to bringing the individuals to Anfield at this moment in time.
Names mentioned in the press were Portugese international 27-year-old Fernando Meira from Stuttgart, 20-year-old Danish international Daniel Agger and highly rated German teenager 19-year-old Lukas Sinkiewicz, from Cologne.
Rafa Benitez was asked today about reports in the press linking him with moves for particular central defenders. He replied: "I have read in the press about centre backs and the information was correct. The only problem for me is when you read that in the newspapers it means the clubs will put the price up for the player. Maybe one of the players plays for Stuttgart and the other for another club who I don’t want to say. We have been linked with a lot of players and I need to talk with Rick Parry and my scouting department to see what we can do."

Names that have been mentioned include Cologne’s 19-year-old German youngster Lukas Sinkiewicz and Stuttgart’s 27-year old Fernando Meira – a Portugese international.

Again Rafa veered away from the Michael Owen speculation – on the day that reports claimed Wigan Athletic had made a bid for the England striker. He did say though that Liverpool were considering two offers for Milan Baros, but as well as the club needing to consider these offers, the player also had to think of what he wanted. Rafa was asked if he wanted to sign Owen once Baros had gone, and his response was the same as ever: "I want a centre back and a right winger. I would like at least two new players, maybe two centre backs but we will have to see how much money we have available.  If we have this money we have to pay for Crouch and then a new centre back and a right winger. We have possibilities and we will wait and see and be patient."

Reports suggest that Baros is closest now to moving to Aston Villa. In the wake of Lyon’s reported £8.5million offer, the Midlands outfit have increased their own offer. It’s hard to know what’s happening with Villa however – their manager David O’Leary seems to be either getting misquoted, or forgetting which story to tell.

Last Wednesday O’Leary was telling his club’s own official website that an enquiry from Liverpool for Nolberto Solano had been rejected flatly, saying: "I admire Liverpool’s taste, but Nobby is an important part of our plans and will not be going anywhere."

On Saturday Solano was on the bench after claiming publicly he’d like to move to Anfield. Now O’Leary claims Liverpool haven’t been in touch. It all gets a bit confusing. O’Leary said: "I’ll never stop anybody who wants to leave this football club. The only comment I can keep saying is that Liverpool have never been in touch with me about Nobby Solano." That’s not what you said last Wednesday David! The Irish manager continued: "He’s got to go to somebody who wants him and nobody has got in touch with me about him." And about the fact the player was on the bench at the weekend? O’Leary says: "He was left on the bench because he will be playing Tuesday night and he’ll be playing on Saturday."