Benitez eager to bring Jones row to a close

Last updated : 26 January 2010 By Northern Echo

The Reds' boss confirmed yesterday that clear-the-air talks were held between Black Cats chairman Niall Quinn and the Anfield club's managing director Christian Purslow over the weekend.

Bruce was furious over suggestions that the two clubs had been in contact over a possible deal that would have seen Jones head for Liverpool on loan.

Sunderland have always maintained discussions with Liverpool regarding the player had never taken place, and Bruce stated it was disrespectful

to learn Benitez had been hinting otherwise.

But Purslow called Quinn on Sunday in a bid to end the feud and Benitez attempted to move the spotlight away from the two Premier League managers yesterday afternoon.

I was not involved in this.

Christian Purslow was talking with Niall Quinn, so they are managing the situation because I was not doing anything,

said Benitez.

I prefer not to talk too much because we will create a debate so Christian and Niall will continue to talk if they need to talk. They were in contact but I don't know what the situation is now.

Benitez would still like the £15m-rated forward in his squad before the transfer window closes next Monday. But he has been told by Sunderland there is no way he will be joining on loan.

With little time remaining for Sunderland to find a replacement, Bruce will fight hard to retain Jones until at least the summer even if Liverpool come up with the funds for a permanant deal before next Monday.

Benitez has very little money available but he could see his arm strengthened considerably in the coming days if he can conclude a sale for Ryan Babel, with Birmingham keen on an £8m deal.

But the Liverpool manager also has a number of cheaper alternatives on his radar including Bordeaux's Marouane Chamakh and Standard Leige's Milan Jovanovic.

Bruce has given up on landing Schalke's Kevin Kuranyi and he has accepted that Emile Heskey's immediate future is with Aston Villa.

And the Sunderland manager learned yesterday another target has had his move to the Premier League brought to a tragic end.

It is a little over a week since Bruce admitted he was interested in signing Paraguayan striker Salvador Cabanas from Mexico club America.

But Cabanas was last night fighting for his life after being shot in the head in Mexico City.

The 29-year-old is in a critical condition and two suspects have been arrested following the incident.

Bruce, whose side travel to Everton tomorrow night, continues to struggle to make a breakthrough in the transfer market.

After being informed that Hamburg's Guy Demel intends to stay in Germany until the summer, Sunderland now fear that deals for both Aston Villa defender Habib Beye and Rennes fullback Rod Fanni could also have hit the buffers.

Sunderland's postponed Premier League fixture with Bolton has been rearranged for Tuesday, March 9, kickoff 7.45pm.

Source: Northern Echo

Source: Northern Echo