Liverpool confirm Benayoun bid


Liverpool have confirmed they have made an approach to buy West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun as Rafael Benitez continues his quest to recruit new signings at Anfield.

The Israel international is delaying signing a new five-year contract at Upton Park - having verbally agreed to the deal three weeks ago - now that he is aware of Liverpool's interest.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said today: "I can confirm we have made an approach for Yossi Benayoun, but the figures quoted are completely wrong. Other than that we don't want to say any more."

There has been speculation that Liverpool offered as little as £1million for the Isreal captain, with other suggestions that a £3million bid has been lodged.

West Ham are believed to have rejected the bid and plan talks this week to convince Benayoun to stay in east London, where his new contract will be worth £50,000 a week.

Liverpool boss Benitez has followed the progress of Benayoun for a number of years, initially while the player was with Racing Santander in Spain.

Last summer, after Benayoun produced an outstanding performance for the Hammers in the FA Cup final against Liverpool in Cardiff, Benitez considered a bid.

Benitez was initially dismissive of the player's ability to handle the physical pressures in the Premiership when he first moved to Upton Park, but has now revised his opinion.

However, the fact that Liverpool are considering players of such a value underlines the problems Benitez is having in the transfer market.

There is a clear conflict with the club's new American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett over finance. Although the Americans have promised to back their manager in the market, both men have recently talked of restrain.

Hicks said "Rafa wants things done yesterday" while Gillett pointedly said this week that Liverpool would not "spend money like drunken sailors."