Liverpool FC: 5 shock transfers that Rafa Benitez narrowly missed out on
Rafael Benitez is a Liverpool legend, having had a successful spell in charge of the Merseyside club. The Spaniard's first season at Anfield saw the Reds win the Champions League in Istanbul, after producing one of the greatest footballing comebacks in history against AC Milan.
However, there is a feeling that Benitez could have won more with Liverpool during his five-year tenure. The Reds were consistently in the top four but were unable to make that final leap to win the Premier League. The trophy that still eludes them to this day.
The 59-year-old's reign at Anfield was not 100% smooth, mainly due to his distressing relationship with the club's owners, Tom Hicks, and George Gillett. The financial restraints at the club prevented Benitez from signing some of the top talents in Europe.
Rafa did get quite a few transfers wrong, but a couple of these deals could have helped Liverpool push towards the Premier League and hold the Spaniard in even higher regard in Anfield history. Here are five big transfers that Rafa Benitez missed out on as the manager of Liverpool FC:
#5 Gareth Barry
In the summer of 2008, Liverpool were really close to signing Gareth Barry from Aston Villa, with the wheels also moving for a possible exit for Xabi Alonso. It nearly happened, but Barry stayed put at Villa Park and the Spaniard remained a part of Rafa Benitez's side for another year. However, the relationship between player and manager had broken down due to Benitez seemingly forcing the midfielder out in pursuit of Barry.
Barry was a target the following year as well, with him being the prime target to replace Alonso, who had left Liverpool for Real Madrid. He was really close once again, but the former Villa man ended up signing for Manchester City. This came following talks with both Benitez and City manager, Mark Hughes. Liverpool would end up replacing Alonso with Alberto Aquilani in an ill-fated move.