Liverpool

Chelsea set sights on Meireles of Liverpool as Yossi Benayoun transfer gathers pace

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Andre Villas-Boas is still said to be keen on bringing Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles to Stamford Bridge, despite having a cash plus player offer turned down on Monday.

The London club reportedly offered around £8 million plus former Red midfielder Yossi Benayoun for the Portuguese international, but while Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is said to be open to the idea of letting Meireles go, Chelsea would have to substantially increase the sum on offer to prize him away.

Dalglish is also said to be cool on the idea of taking Benayoun back a year after the Israeli international left the club and would be more open to a cash only deal given the strength in depth he already possess in the midfield area.

Chelsea appear more keen to land the former Porto midfielder after their overtures towards Tottenham’s Luka Modric were rejected once more. The Blues reportedly offered £40 million for the Croatian midfielder  over the weekend but were once more turned down, and with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich unlikely to go much higher he may have to look elsewhere in order to bolster the midfield area.

There is still a slight hope a deal can be done before the transfer window closes after Spurs boss Harry Redknapp revealed that Modric had asked not to play once more against Manchester City, claiming his head was not right for the game.

Modric was substituted in the second half after an indifferent performance to a small but noticeable chorus of jeers, and with Redknapp describing his side’s pre-season as the “worst” he has ever experienced thanks to the disturbance the transfer saga has caused, the former Portsmouth boss may still be tempted to let one of his key players go in order to put a hat to the disruption despite the club’s hard-line stance on the matter.

Chelsea will put together an improved bid in the coming days, with Villas-Boas said to be the driving factor behind the move as he attempts to link up with Meireles having worked with him briefly at Porto.

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