Liverpool To Demand £10m For Yossi Benayoun As Midfielder Seeks To Leave If Rafael Benitez Stays

Israeli fed up with being in and out of the Merseysiders' team
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun plans to leave Anfield if Rafael Benitez is still the manager next season, UK can reveal.

Premier League rivals Chelsea have been strongly linked with a move for the 30-year-old in recent days, with a formal bid reportedly having been made, however Benayoun's hopes of departing could be set back by the £10 million tag that Liverpool have placed on the Israeli.

The Liverpool hierarchy are reluctant to sanction a sale until Benitez’s own future is resolved.

Should the club feel it is time to cash in on a player who turned 30 earlier this month they will ask for £10m, double the £5m fee they paid to West Ham three years ago. However, with Benayoun desperate to depart, they may settle for around £7m rather than keep an unhappy player.

The midfielder has long had a fraught relationship with Benitez, which reached breaking point towards the end of Liverpool’s dismal campaign.

Benayoun was frustrated that he could not establish himself as an automatic first choice, or complete a full 90 minutes, and felt that he was singled out for unfair treatment by his manager.

A source close to Benayoun said: “Yossi loves Liverpool and wants to stay but he feels that Rafa does not really trust him.

“Whenever Rafa looks to make a substitution or rotate the team, Yossi always seems to be the fall guy, even when he is playing really well. He believes he would be better off playing under a manager who really believes in him.

“None of the [Liverpool] players really know if Rafa will be manager next season but Yossi says that if Rafa stays, then he will go. He feels he would get more chances at another team.”

Tottenham Hotspur, AS Roma, Aston Villa and Sevilla, as well as former club West Ham United, have also been linked with moves for Benayoun, whose contract was extended until 2013 last summer after he finished the 2008-09 season with a flourish.

Although his form faded after an excellent start to a season in which Liverpool eventually lost 19 matches, the player was still one of the team’s more consistent creative players and his contribution of nine goals from 42 matches was impressive given the stop-start nature of his campaign.

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