Liverpool FC braced for improved Xabi Alonso bid from Real Madrid LIVERPOOL are braced for an improved bid for Xabi Alonso as Real Madrid step up their pursuit of the midfielder.
The 27-year-old’s decision to put in a written transfer request will reluctantly force manager Rafa Benitez to do business with the Spanish club.
However, Alonso has been told he won’t be allowed to leave on the cheap with the Reds holding out for a fee of around £30million.
Benitez is keen to conclude the summer-long saga as he needs time to bolster his squad ahead of the new Premier League campaign which starts in a fortnight.
Real Madrid must now improve their initial £24million offer but the situation is complicated by the fact they insist they have to move players out to free up squad spaces before bringing anyone else in.
That could soon happen with Gabriel Heinze on his way to Marseille while Arjen Robben and Klaas Jan Huntelaar are also attracting interest.
Sources in Spain suggest Real are confident an agreement will finally be reached with the Reds over the fee and Alonso will put pen to paper on a four-year deal.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Ray Clemence believes losing Alonso will be a major blow to the Reds.
“It will leave a massive hole,” he said. “Rafa will also have such a short time to try to replace him.''
Alonso’s departure will strengthen Benitez’s determination to hold on to Javier Mascherano.
The Argentina midfielder’s brother Sebastian has once again claimed he is keen on a move to Barcelona.
He said: “If Barcelona make a very good cash offer, I believe Javier may leave Liverpool as it would be the best for him and his family. But if there is no good offer, they will not let him go.”
Benitez recently said not even £50million would convince him to sell Mascherano.
The Reds boss has already raised around £8million from the sales of Alvaro Arbeloa, Sebastian Leto, Jack Hobbs and Paul Anderson this summer.
of Alonso and Andrea Dossena’s expected switch to Napoli will push his transfer kitty beyond the £40million mark.
Liverpool’s players, including Alonso, returned to training yesterday ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Espanyol in Barcelona. THE ECHO