Old Lady gives Benitez 10-day window to signal intent of Juve switch
JUVENTUS have given Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez 10 days to rule himself in or out of the running as a candidate to take charge of the Serie A side next season.
The Spaniard remains the overwhelming first choice of the Italian club's power brokers to replace Alberto Zaccheroni, though it is thought Cagliari manager Massimiliano Allegri and Brazil coach Dunga have been lined up should Benitez rule himself out.
Reports in Italy yesterday suggesting that Benitez's agent, Manuel Garcia Quilon, had met with Juventus president Jean-Claude Blanc in Milan on Monday are believed to be wide of the mark, but sources in Turin insist the Italian club are "90pc" confident of landing the Liverpool manager and hope to be given an indication of his intent by the end of next week.
Though Benitez would have to work under a technical director at the Stadio Olimpico, Juventus are believed to be ready to grant him the autonomy he enjoys in England, as well as providing him with an extensive back-room team.
Juventus are in danger of missing out on a Champions League spot for next season but, unlike the Anfield club, have resolved to replenish their squad regardless.
Whichever candidate replaces Zaccheroni could be handed transfer funds of as much as £70m, though that figure is likely to include money raised through selling off a number of stars, including the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, believed to be a target for Manchester City.
Such comparative riches may prove tempting for Benitez, who revealed last week that he feels he has taken Liverpool "as far" as he is able without a significant injection of cash. "We have been wheeling and dealing for six years, but if we continue to do that, it will be very difficult to stay at the level everyone is expecting," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)