Benitez targets Villa

Image: Villa: On Benitez's list

Rafa Benitez has hinted he may target David Villa as a replacement for Portsmouth-bound Peter Crouch.

Liverpool boss sets sights on Crouch replacement

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has hinted he may target Valencia striker David Villa as a replacement for Portsmouth-bound Peter Crouch. Crouch is poised to complete his summer transfer to Fratton Park after Pompey agreed a fee with Liverpool on Monday. Spain's Villa has reportedly attracted strong interest from several leading European clubs after he finished top scorer at Euro 2008. The 26-year-old has since insisted he is happy at the Mestalla; however Benitez could be set to test the forward's resolve.

Difficult

Benitez, who brought fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres to Anfield from Atletico Madrid last summer, said: "We have Torres, Andrei Voronin, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard, who can play as a second striker. "But we will try to bring in another option. Villa is a player we know all about and he is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult." On Crouch's expected departure, Benitez praised the England international's professionalism and character after he endured a difficult beginning to his career on Merseyside.
Stay
"He is a good professional and a nice person, and we would have wanted him to stay. We offered him a new contract," said Benitez. "But sometimes you have to understand the player. He wanted to play a lot more, and with Fernando Torres now first choice, that was always going to be difficult. "I can understand Peter's situation. But he did very well for this club and we always supported him when people doubted the decision to bring him to Anfield."

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