Benitez rejects Reds deal

Image: Benitez: Rejected deal

Rafa Benitez has turned down the new contract offered to him by Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Liverpool boss wants full control

Rafa Benitez has turned down the new contract offered to him by Premier League leaders Liverpool. The Spaniard, who has been at the helm of the Anfield outfit since June 2004, has been considering the deal proposed to him by club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Benitez confirmed last week that an agreement had been reached over the length of his contract and the salary. But a stumbling block has emerged with the former Valencia boss unwilling to answer to the club's chief executive - a role currently held by Rick Parry - in relation to on-field matters and transfer policy. Benitez told the Liverpool Echo: "The owners feel that the manager's decisions need to be subject to the chief executive. "But I know that I am subject to results and to our fans and they are the best judges I will ever have. "I have a lot of experience in football at different clubs and if you do not have a technical director and you are the manager you have to have control of the football decisions. But always within the confines of a budget which is controlled by the owners and the club. "In this scenario the manager knows the amount money he has available to him and can decide how much he should spend on each player according to the needs of the team. "The only person who can decide the value of a player to his squad is the manager because he knows what elements are needed to improve the squad."


Benitez insists that his decision is no reflection on his relationship with Gillett and Hicks, and that he is not attempting to secure improved terms. He is also determined that the Reds' Premier League title bid, which continues with a Merseyside derby against Everton on Monday night, must not be overshadowed. "My relationship with the owners is better than people think," he added. "I have regular contact with them and especially with Tom Hicks who has always been very supportive. "The talks between my agent and the advisers of the owners have been very positive and friendly and our differences are about my responsibilities. "I have to say again that this is not about financial gain. This is not a way to get more money. This is solely about being allowed to manage Liverpool football club to the best of my abilities as I see them. "I believe that this club has the potential to improve and I just want to be able to help this to happen. I will continue to do my job as manager and concentrate on the thing that our fans want me to focus on - winning trophies for them. "From the first day I came to the club I have only ever given 100 per cent and I will continue to do this. "We have a very important game coming up against Everton on Monday night and now I just want to be able to concentrate only on this."
Benitez feels that he should be given more input into the club's academy and is keen to see more home-grown talent emerge. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher both came through the ranks at Anfield and the Spaniard is keen to see more youngsters emerge on Merseyside. He said: "I believe the academy is a very important part of the future of the club. The length of the contract was already agreed and this showed my long term commitment to the club. "I know the academies of Ajax, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan and Valencia and they are producing players regularly. "The way the system works there means the manager has an input into development and I think this could be the way forward here and we would hope that this would help us make better use of local talent."

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