LIVERPOOL manager Rafael Benitez has slammed mega-rich Real Madrid and Manchester City for forcing up transfer prices with their money-no-object policies.
Real have shelled out around £200m this summer and plan to spend more, while City, backed by Sheikh Mansour, reportedly offered Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o wages of £250,000 per week.
And Benitez blames such extravagance for creating an inflated market in which he was forced to pay over the odds for £18m Portsmouth right-back Glen Johnson.
“We had to pay big money, the market is now crazy. It is all money, money, money now,” said Benitez.
“Manchester City and big clubs in Europe are spending big money, so the market has changed and we have to work harder. You have to do that to stay at the level we are at because of the big money being spent here and abroad.”
City snared long-time Benitez target Gareth Barry earlier in the summer, and the Liverpool boss admitted failing to compete with the Eastland side’s financial might.
“We did go back again for Barry, but as I said, it is all about money, money, money,” he added. “It is as simple as that.”
Real’s spending power could yet have a more direct impact on Liverpool, who have so far resisted the Spaniards’ advances for Xabi Alonso. His midfield partner Javier Mascherano is also wanted in Spain, by European champions Barcelona. But Benitez reminded them yesterday that they both owed Liverpool a debt of gratitude.
“I don’t think Alonso or Mascherano will go. Alonso came from Real Sociedad and nobody had heard of him outside Spain, he did well and we renewed his contract because of that,” said Benitez.
“Mascherano came from West Ham where he had not been doing well. We brought him here and gave him a good contract. We’re pleased with them and Liverpool has been very good to them.”