Rafa: Bellamy and Cisse sold. West Ham deny Bellamy deal done

Liverpool boss Rafa Benítez has confirmed that strikers
Craig Bellamy and Djibril Cisse have left the club, although Bellamy’s supposed
buyers, West Ham, are denying the deal has been completed.

Craig Bellamy had a medical at West Ham earlier in the week,
and he agreed personal terms believed to include a £75,000-a-week pay packet.
Earlier today the only stumbling block was believed to be the fee for the player,
but that seemed to have been resolved when Rafa was interviewed after Liverpool’s
3-2 friendly defeat of Wrexham this afternoon: “He’s signed for West Ham, it’s
done,” claimed Rafa. “He knew what I thought and I think it’s a good move for

Bellamy had already been unhappy with the rotation policy
Rafa has, and the Spaniard told the Welsh striker that next season he was
likely to get even less games. The Liverpool boss needs the money more than the
player so he can fund more signings. A fee of an initial £7.5m was agreed, but
West Ham say the player is still to resolve some contractual issues with the

Also without a chance of playing a game again for Liverpool
was Djibril Cisse, who spent last season on loan at Marseilles. The French side
announced they had agreed a deal “in principle” to make Cisse a permanent
fixture and now that too seems to have been finalised. Rafa said: “Yes, it’s
done also.”

Liverpool’s attempts to sign West Ham’s Yossi Benayoun are
still ongoing. The Hammers are reported in some places as having put a
ridiculous £8m price tag on him, at one point trying to get a straight swap for
Bellamy, but Liverpool won’t be messed about. Rafa has a number of targets and
will switch to others if West Ham don’t budge soon. Benayoun has told West Ham
he doesn’t want to play for them again, upsetting the London side after he’d
agreed verbally to sign a new contract with them. Asked if the Israeli
international would be coming to Anfield Rafa said: “I don’t know. It’s clear
he’d like to come. Any move for Benayoun to join us from West Ham will not be
linked with the Bellamy sale. We have made an offer which has been rejected, now
we need to wait. He’s a player I like and would want to sign, and I believe he
wants to join us, but that deal will be separate now. We will have to wait and
see what happens next week. He’s a good player for me.”

The deals are clearly going to remain separate, especially
with West Ham attempting to get £8m for a player who doesn’t want to play for them
and who Liverpool value at around £3.5m.

Regarding the signing of Bellamy, West Ham’s busy press
office released the following statement on the club’s official website: “Following
comments attributed to Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez today, West Ham United
would like to make it clear that Craig Bellamy has not yet completed a move to
Upton Park.

“After a fee of £7.5million was agreed between the two
clubs, we can confirm that the Welsh international captain has successfully
passed a medical and agreed personal terms.

“However, the deal has been delayed due to a private
contractual issue between Craig Bellamy and Liverpool, which must be resolved
before any transfer can be completed.

“The player is due to meet with Liverpool on Monday morning,
and we expect to complete the transfer soon after.

“As always, confirmation of any new signing will appear here
on whufc.com as soon as it is formally completed.”

Liverpool’s official site was, as is usually the case with
unconfirmed signings, quiet on the issue.