Benayoun still waiting for word from Anfield

Liverpool's bid to bring Israel captain Yossi Benayoun to
Anfield is in that familiar stage (for Liverpool fans) where the player has
made it known he wants to come to Anfield, Liverpool have made it clear they
want the player, but valuations differ between the Reds and the selling club –
in this case West Ham.

Benayoun was offered a new deal by West Ham and seemed all
set to sign it until he found out through his agent that Liverpool were
interested. Any doubt he might have had about Liverpool's interest – after all
he's not allowed to speak to the Reds officially until West Ham give permission
– were allayed when West Ham's chairman Eggert Magnússon told the press that
Liverpool had made an offer. He was complaining about the amount of that offer,
but Rick Parry later said that the West Ham chairman had told the press an
incorrect figure. The offer is now believed to have been for an overall £3m.

Now Benayoun's agent Ronen Katzav says the midfielder is
waiting for further developments: "We are still waiting. The deal is still in
place with West Ham. We are waiting to see if the two clubs can come to an

Speaking to Sky Sports, Katzav said: "I am not going to say
Yossi is desperate for a move at all, but it is only natural – any player in
the world would be attracted by Liverpool."

Another familiar twist in transfer dealings is the sudden
appearance of another club at the eleventh-hour, interested in the player
Liverpool are trying to buy. This time the club is Manchester City, about to be
taken over by Thaksin Shinawatra. It's just been announced that their target as
new manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, has agreed – in principle – a three-year-deal
with them. According to reports this morning Eriksson is planning to make a Benayoun
his first signing after bidding £4m bid for the player.  However the former Thai prime minister has not
actually taken over at City yet, Eriksson's agreement to manage them still only
agreed in principle pending the takeover, which still seems some way off going
through. Even getting over those obstacles, Benayoun was happy to stay at West
Ham until Liverpool came along and offered him the potential to play in the
Champions League.

Of course the focus of Liverpool's transfer dealings right
now is on the moves to bring Fernando Torres to Anfield, and with Luis Garcia
now not believed to be part of that deal Liverpool's need for Benayoun isn't
quite as strong as it was, and that would reflect the amount they would be
willing to pay for the 27-year-old.