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Player sales unlikely to boost Rafa's war chest

RAFAEL Benitez is unlikely to be given any of the proceeds from player sales during the January transfer window to reinvest in new signings this month.

Four fringe members of the Liverpool squad could leave the club in the coming weeks: Andrea Dossena, Philipp Degen and Andriy Voronin have been earmarked for the exit door and Ryan Babel is the subject of serious interest from Birmingham City. The money recouped from their potential sales could total in excess of £15m.

Napoli have agreed a £4.4m fee for defender Dossena, who is set to complete the move back to his native Italy once personal terms have been agreed; striker Voronin is on the brink of signing for Dynamo Moscow in a deal worth about £2m; and Degen is the subject of interest from several clubs in Germany, with Stuttgart leading the race for the defender's services.

Birmingham City have offered £9m for Babel but that bid is likely to be rebuffed because the Holland forward is keen to hold out for a move to the Continent. Galatasaray, who are coached by Frank Rijkaard, Babel's countryman, are one of a number of clubs ready to enter the race for his services.

Benitez is pushing ahead with the planned signing of Argentine Maxi Rodriguez, the Atletico Madrid winger, on a six-month loan and is also looking for a second temporary recruit in defence after Glen Johnsonwas ruled out for at least a month with a knee injury.

However, should Liverpool not make any significant investment in their playing squad it will serve only to reinforce Benitez's recent assertion that the club's priority has shifted from trophy gathering to debt reduction.

Meanwhile, Fernando Torres is undertaking gruelling extra training sessions in an attempt to ensure that he remains fit for the rest of the season.

He said: "I work three, four or five hours more than the rest of the squad because I need to keep recovering."

© The Times, London


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