Benitez still wants Barry, but must sell first

July 29, 2008

Rafael Benitez has confirmed he must sell again to bring Gareth Barry to Liverpool after completing the £20.3million signing of Robbie Keane.

The Reds manager insists that is what he aims to do, but he has no intention of selling Spain international Alvaro Arbeloa.

Liverpool are believed to have had a £7million bid from Sevilla for the 25-year-old, but Benitez has made it clear the player is going nowhere, despite speculation defender Arbeloa wants to return to Spain for personal reasons.

Benitez maintains there is no truth in the assumption Arbeloa is eager to leave and the former Deportivo La Coruna player will be part of his plans in the coming season.

But there is no question that Benitez still wants to sign former Aston Villa skipper Barry, the subject of a summer-long saga which has frayed tempers at Villa Park and Anfield.

Benitez could sell Jermaine Pennant, Andriy Voronin or Steve Finnan, but it is still more likely that he will persuade Xabi Alonso to leave if he can get a £15million-plus bid for the Spanish midfielder.

After completing the Keane deal, Benitez talked in terms of one more major departure rather than a string of smaller deals, to finance an £18million move for Barry.

Benitez said: 'We knew that we could only spend money by selling players and we have been doing this (for Keane).

'We are still trying to sign the players that we need, and if we need to sell someone now, okay, we will do so.

'If we can do it (the Barry deal) before the end of the transfer window, we will continue to try. We will always continue to improve our squad.'

Benitez was delighted to finally land Keane, and he declined to discuss Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy's anger over how the move was concluded.

Benitez said: 'We are pleased he is here. We dealt well with Mr Levy, and my role was to bring the player here as quickly as possible.

'Robbie is one of the very best forwards in the Premier League. He is settled and more than used to the requirements. He is a good professional with a solid mentality, obviously I am pleased he is here, other managers would say the same.

'Robbie can play alongside (Fernando) Torres and (Dirk) Kuyt, and also (Steven) Gerrard. He is clever and is the right kind of player.

'He can play on the right, he can play up front. If you have clever players it makes it easier for the manager.'

He added: 'If you play 4-4-2, Keane can play alongside Torres. If we play 4-2-3-1 he can play as a second striker or on the right.

'He is the kind of player who is adaptable, and can be used in different positions and will give you 100%.

'Robbie is intelligent, he can play on the right and he can adapt. He is a very positive signing.

'He scored twice at Anfield last season, he knows where he has to be to score and where he must be to support team-mates. He is very clever.

'We have known he was a good player for a long time, the goals he scored against us just underlined what we already knew.

'We wanted the player, he said he was a Liverpool fan and wanted to come here. We are happy, our fans are happy.'