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Liverpool sign Benayoun
The Reds sign the Israeli midfielder while continuing to chase Ryan Babel.
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2007 20:33 GMT

Yossi Benayoun: Not happy any longer being a Hammer [GALLO/GETTY]

Liverpool has agreed to a fee to sign West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun, while still targeting Ajax forward Ryan Babel.
 
Chief executive Rick Parry said that Benayoun had rejected a new contract offer from West Ham and the move was imminent.
 
Benayoun's agent Ronen Katzav was upbeat saying, "It should be completed in the next 48 hours.
"Everybody would be happy to play for Liverpool. West Ham will always be in his heart but he is looking to move up a level."
 
The deal for Babel is not as straightforward with Ajax and Liverpool currently $4 million apart in their evaluations of the player's worth.
 
But Parry remains confident.

"We're not quite there with Ryan Babel yet, but we've now been given permission by Ajax to talk to the player," Parry said.

"We hope to reach an agreement with Ajax very shortly."

Benayoun moved to West Ham in 2005 from Racing Santander.

The Israel international began his career at Hapoel Beer Sheva and Maccabi Haifa.

It was a busy day in Liverpool as they also signed 17 year old Millwall striker David Amoo for an undisclosed fee.

He will start training at the club's academy immediately.

Two youth team players, goalkeeper Martin Hansen and striker Michael Collins, also signed professional contracts after turning 17, and Angel Vales joined Liverpool as reserve team coach and head of technical analysis.

Toon sale rolls on

Meanwhile, English businessman Mike Ashley is set to complete his takeover of Newcastle by compulsorily purchasing the remaining shares in the Premier League club.

Ashley's takeover company, St. James Holdings Ltd, said it had passed the threshold needed to force any remaining shareholders to sell up.

Ashley now holds 94.5 percent of the northeast England side, which has a huge fan base but has not won the league since 1927 or FA Cup since 1955.

Ashley already owned 41.58 percent of Newcastle before making an offer on June 15 for the remainder of the club.

He needed to acquire 90 percent of those outstanding shares, taking his
holdings to 94.16 percent of the entire club, before he could make a
compulsory purchase.

St. James Holdings now has 90.58 percent of the outstanding shares.

The billionaire who made his money in sportswear shops, Ashley plans to remove the club from the stock market on July 18.

Source:
Agencies
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