Malaga confirm Benitez enquiries
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
New Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez could be ready to return to Spain and raid Malaga as he looks to make his first signings at Anfield.
The former Valencia coach is thought to be keeping tabs on Malaga quartet Miguel Angel, Josemi, Alexis and Juan Calatayud as he begins his Anfield revolution.
Defensive midfielder Angel is believed to be Benitez's top target as he seeks a partner for Steven Gerrard in the engine room next season.
Benitez is a big fan of the former Levante and Barcelona man after monitoring him during his time in charge at La Mestalla.
Angel has attracted the interest of Aston Villa and Bolton in the past and now Liverpool are tracking him.
Malaga technical secretary Manuel Ruiz Hierro admitted that Benitez had asked to be kept informed of Angel's availability.
"They have asked about his situation, but there has not been an economic offer," said Hierro.
"Rafael Benitez knows the player well."
Benitez has also asked about the availability of full back Josemi, central defender Alexis, and goalkeeper Juan Calatayud.
Josemi is highly regarded in Spain and he has been linked with moves to Real Betis and Atletico Madrid.
Alexis is very much one for the future at Malaga and has played for Spain at youth level.
Aston Villa have also been tracking the 18-year-old and reportedly failed in a bid for him last year
Goalkeeper Calatayud is still to establish himself as a regular in the Malaga side, but he is highly thought of within the corridors of La Rosaleda.
Malaga B team coach Antonio Tapia confirmed he had talked with friend Benitez about all four players.
"He has asked for reports on all these players," said Tapia.
Should Benitez follow up his interest with bids for any of the players, it is likely that Malaga would have listen to offers due to their financial constraints.