After Liverpool co-owner George Gillet made light of a transfer rift with Rafa Benitez, his comments ruling out "drunken sailor" spending mean the Reds are lowering their sights in the transfer market this summer.
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Benitez must have been rubbing his hands with glee when Merseyside's answer to the Glazier family took control at the club, the American businessman vowing to support Benitez' plans to strengthen leading the former Valencia boss to believe that he could now match the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in terms of large individual fees for big-name players.
But it now seems that he will have to continue in a similar vein to before - smaller but still substantial purchases on squad players, free transfers and young prospects, often from Spain or South America.
"I read that Rafa is throwing hand-grenades and making demands but nothing could be farther from the truth," Gillett told the Montreal Gazette. "The plan involves us spending money, but it will be part of a plan, not just spending like a drunken sailor."
So, in real terms, that means abandoning proposed bids for Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o and lowering the bar to Diego Forlan. It means no more talk of Fernando Torres or David Villa, but hastily-assembled scout reports on Darren Bent and Diego Milito. Oh well. At least Djibirl Cisse's on his way out&hellip
Meanwhile, Scottish runners-up Rangers are responding to Celtic's continued hijacking of any attempted deal for highly-rated Scottish talent by scouring the continent - and local leagues - for free transfers and cut-price deals.
With Rangers opting to be more fiscally conservative than their city rivals - Celtic outbidding them for Steven Pressley, Paul Hartley and now, it seems, young Kilmarnock striker Steven Naismith - Walter Smith has adopted a slightly different policy.
After the surprise free transfer signing of Jean-Claude Darcheville from Bordeaux, Rangers have picked-up midfielder Alan Gow form Falkirk and St Mirren defender Karl Broadfoot, have agreed a fee of £700,000 with PSV for USA winger DaMarcus Beasley and are bidding for impressive Osasuna defender Carlos Cuellar.
In other transfer gossip, West Brom have told Birmingham to up their Diomansy Kamara bid to a staggering £6 million, with Fulham sniffing around for the Senegal forward and midfielder Jason Koumas&hellip Wigan are reportedly keen on recovering Sheffield United striker Rob Hulse, with the Blades rejected by Blackburn's own broken-leg victim Robbie Savage&hellip Newcastle have added defenders Sami Hyppia (Newcastle), David Rozehnal (PSG) and Habib Beye (Marseille) to their list of defensive targets as they edge closer to Bolton's Tal Ben Haim, while the Trotters are set to bid £1.5 million for Reading winger Stephen Hunt.
- REDA MAHER -