Liverpool have slapped a £15 million (US$29.3 million) price tag on unsettled England striker Peter Crouch, while Tottenham Hotspur have indicated that they are resigned to losing Dimitar Berbatov at the end of this season.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez accepts that Crouch has grown frustrated with playing second fiddle to Fernando Torres at Anfield, but made it clear it would take a significant offer for him to release a player he regards as a valuable squad member.
“Crouch wants to play every week, but knows he must fight it out with Fernando Torres,” Benitez said. “We keep seeing Portsmouth linked with the player, but we have had no offer as yet. A £15 million price tag would not be unreasonable.”
Benitez, who confirmed that out-of-contract winger Harry Kewell will leave the club at the end of the season, is hoping to bring England midfielder Gareth Barry to Anfield.
“I have spoken to [Villa boss] Martin O’Neill, he knows my ideas,” the Spaniard said. “But we agreed to wait until the end of the season for any more discussions.”
Tottenham boss Juande Ramos said Berbatov had made his mind up on his future, which will not be at White Hart Lane if a Champions League club comes in with a sufficiently large offer.
“I’ve spoken to him many times and know exactly what he wants,” Ramos said. “I understand perfectly well that big clubs want to sign him.”
Spurs have been looking at possible replacements for Berbatov, including Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o.
“Obviously we have to cover our backs in case the player decides to leave and we have to have options to replace him,” Ramos said. “I would obviously like him to stay here, but we don’t know how future negotiations will go so it is something I cannot guarantee. If there are offers coming in for the player we will see if they convince the club and the player as well. What we want is for the player to be happy and enjoy his football.”
“The player has the key to this and it is up to him at the end of the day,” Ramos said. “If that happened I’m sure the club would prefer to have the money, because with the money they would be able to sign the players necessary. Of course there are great players in Europe that can do just as well as Berbatov.”