City want Alonso alongside Barry

MANCHESTER City are ready to take advantage of an Anfield feud to snatch midfielder Xabi Alonso. (Mirror)Alonso has had an icy relationship with fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez ever since the Liverpool boss tried to sell him last summer.

MANCHESTER City are ready to take advantage of an Anfield feud to snatch midfielder Xabi Alonso. (Mirror)

Alonso has had an icy relationship with fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez ever since the Liverpool boss tried to sell him last summer.

Now Alonso heads the list of players wanted by the super-rich Manchester club and manager Mark Hughes even placed him ahead of the newly recruited Gareth Barry as a target.

The City boss wants the pair to form the fulcrum of his midfield and is ready to capitalise on a breakdown of the relationship between Alonso and his boss to try to tempt him with a �20million bid.

Alonso lost faith in Benitez when he tried to sell him behind his back last summer. And when it seemed the same would happen at the end of this season, he resolved to find himself another club.

There has already been contact from Real Madrid, and while - contrary to reports - there has yet to be a concrete bid from the Bernabeu, it seems certain they will follow up interest with an offer in the region of �18m.

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But the politics at Anfield will prevent a swift conclusion to any deal, and that will allow City the chance to tempt Alonso with a massive deal.

Alonso's first choice would still be a move back to Spain with either Madrid or Barcelona, who are also monitoring the situation, but City have the financial clout to make him think again.

They gave Barry a staggering contract worth almost �100,000 a week and given their desire to land Alonso they would be prepared to top anything Real could offer.

He and his family are happy in the north west of England and until the end of the season he wanted to remain at Anfield, before tiring of the Kop politics.

Signing for City would allow him to stay where he is settled and would also offer the huge incentive of a deal that could be worth in the region of an amazing �30m.

His departure though, will leave Benitez in a difficult situation. The Liverpool boss was caught napping by City over Barry, and he has no obvious alternative as a replacement for Alonso.

Benitez will have in the region of �50m to spend if he sells Alonso. He wants Valencia winger David Silva, and the rest of that figure will have to be diverted to a replacement in midfield, leaving little for a striker or the two defenders that are also on his wish-list.

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