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By ESPN Staff

Alonso linked with £12m Juventus move

Juventus director general Jean-Claude Blanc has flown to Liverpool to conclude a £12million deal for Xabi Alonso, according to reports in Italy.

Three of Italy's major sports newspapers insist Blanc held a meeting with Anfield boss Rafael Benitez on Tuesday.

High-level Liverpool sources have declined to comment on whether there has been contact between the two clubs.

Although Alonso, who is in Spain's squad for the Euro 2008 finals next month, has recently claimed he still sees his future at Anfield, a move to Italy would certainly interest him.

It is no secret that Benitez has been told he must sell as well as buy this summer as be re-builds his squad.

And Alonso found his senior appearances restricted last season following the £18.6million arrival of Javier Mascherano and with young Brazilian midfielder Lucas also making an impact.

With Benitez still trying to tie up the move of England international midfielder Gareth Barry to Anfield for £10million, the departure of Alonso would not be a surprise.

Alonso was one of Benitez's first signings when he took over as manager four years ago, arriving for £10.5million from Real Sociedad.

The 26-year-old has played 163 games for the club and scored 14 goals but featured little towards the end of the season.

He was only a late substitute in Liverpool's final home game of the season against Manchester City and then did not figure at all in the last match at Tottenham.

The Spaniard could be one of several players to leave the club this summer.

Benitez also left out Jermaine Pennant, John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch from the side at Spurs, along with Harry Kewell, who knew by then his contract would not be renewed.

Benitez has already been active in the transfer market having signed defender Philipp Degen from Borussia Dortmund yesterday.

The Liverpool manager is also believed to be chasing Ulrich Rame, Bordeaux's France international goalkeeper, and Italian left-back Andrea Dossena from Udinese.

But the possible departure of Alonso will disappoint Liverpool fans, the Basque-born star being a key player over recent seasons and scorer of one of the goals in the 2005 Champions League final win in Istanbul.


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