Atletico coy on Xabi reports
By Francisco Acedo. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Atletico Madrid have refused to comment on reports linking them with Xabi Alonso, although the Liverpool midfielder insists he is paying no attention to the speculation.
Atletico, under the stewardship of Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, are enjoying a fine campaign and currently sit fourth in La Primera.
After years of underachievement, there is now real hope at the Vicente Calderon that they can challenge for major honours once again and the club appear keen to strengthen during the January transfer window.
Aguirre is reported to have requested additional defensive cover, but Spanish sources claim Los Rojiblancos have also set their sights on an ambitious bid to bring Alonso back to La Liga.
Atletico have refused to comment on the report, with a club spokesman stating: "The club never respond to news that appears in the press."
However, any move for Alonso would seem unlikely to bear fruit with the cultured midfielder a key player and hugely popular figure at Anfield.
He has proved arguably Rafa Benitez's shrewdest signing and insists he is focused on helping Liverpool to further success this term.
"At this time a lot of rumours always appear in the papers, but I am only thinking about staying at Liverpool to help the team have a good season," Alonso declared.
Meanwhile, Gimnastic de Tarragona coach Paco Flores has confirmed his intention to try and loan players from Liverpool during the transfer window.
Flores is a close friend of Benitez and reportedly keen to use his relationship with the Reds boss to secure the services of Gabriel Paletta and Salif Diao.
However, he claims any deals are still some way off, explaining; "Possibly Nastic could take advantage of my friendship with Rafa Benitez and there are Liverpool players that could come here.
"But it is still too soon to say. In 48 or 72 hours it could have advanced a bit, but right now I can't promise anything."