November 17, 2007
by Oliver Kay
Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, is attracting interest from Bayern Munich, having been identified as the coach to restore the German club to their former glories.
It is unlikely that the Spaniard could be persuaded to leave Anfield to move to Germany, but Bayern are determined to recruit a top-class coach next summer and would be prepared to make him a substantial offer, as well as give him considerable support in the transfer market.
Bayern’s interest stems from their desire to find a long-term successor to the vastly experienced Ottmar Hitzfeld, whose second spell in charge is likely to end when his contract expires at the end of the season.
They believe that BenÍtez, who led Liverpool to Champions League success in his first season at Anfield, would represent an ideal appointment, but Bayern are also likely to consider José Mourinho, the former Chelsea manager, for any vacancy at the Allianz Arena.
Liverpool, while aware of rumours of Bayern’s interest, remain calm about BenÍtez’s plans, aware that he has two years left on his contract and that the Spaniard – having considered his future on a couple of occasions in the past two years - is settled, both in the job and domestically on Merseyside.
BenÍtez, though, would not shy away from using any interest in him to strengthen his position at Anfield, particularly in terms of securing funding from George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks, the club’s American owners, to sign new players.
He is eager to make at least two high-profile signings during the January transfer window – a centre half, such as Ezequiel Marcelo Garay, of Racing Santander, and a striker. The need for a new centre forward is all the greater given his eagerness to offload Peter Crouch, who has fallen dramatically down the pecking order.