Liverpool have confirmed that they have held the first in what they hope to be a series of talks with manager Rafa Benitez over his future at the club.
Benitez (who is understood to have already cancelled two prior meetings) met with chairman Martin Broughton with the hope of discussing his available transfer budget for next season although, with the club currently up for sale, it is unlikely that current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will be willing to invest any more substantial amounts of money.
There are also doubts as to whether Broughton (who currently occupies a non-executive position) has the authority to divulge such information, but a Liverpool spokesman has told the gathered local press that the meeting was, at the very least, ‘constructive’;
“We are pleased that the first of what is intended to be a series of meetings took place today between the chairman, managing director and the manager. The meeting was constructive.
The chairman shared his views about plans for the future of the club. There was an exchange of views on issues of concern to both the board and the manager which were either addressed or to be picked up in forthcoming meetings.”
The 50-year-old Spaniard (who has four years to run on his current contract) has been strongly linked with the soon-to-be-vacant manager role at Juventus since the turn of the year, but the Bianconeri’s failure to qualify for next year’s Champions League coupled with their apparently waning interest in installing Benitez as Alberto Zaccharoni‘s successor means that a switch to Serie A is looking increasingly unlikely.
However, the task of overhauling Liverpool’s wafer-thin squad (Rafa has openly stated that he needs three or four ‘top class’ signings to compete with Manchester United and Chelsea) on a potentially meagre budget also presents a somewhat thankless challenge.