If recent news are to be believed, it is speculated that Liverpool are considering a swoop for Real Madrid's impressive playmaker Rafael Van der Vaart after the Bernabeau giants offered their creative midfielder to the Merseyside club.
The Reds official met the Los Blancos staff at Madrid on Thursday before the Merseysider's Europa League semifinal encounter against Athletico Madrid. They are reported to have discussed the 27-year-old Dutch footballer's future.
The product of Ajax's highly regarded youth academy has been deemed surplus to requirements, by Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez, and looks likely to be offloaded this summer, along with a several other players.
After being overlooked in the early half of the 2009/10 season, the ex-Hamburg player has forced his way into coach Manuel Pellegrini's plans this season. But his impressive performance looks to have made no effect as the Los Blancos look set to ship him out of the Bernabeau this transfer season.
After a much publicized £11.3 million move to the Spanish giants from Hamburg in 2008, Van Der Vaart started off well his 2008/09 season. But in the latter half of the season his role was reduced to that of an impact substitute. It was speculated that he had become out-of-favor after a fall-out with then coach Juande Ramos.
At the start of the 2009/10 season it was widely speculated that the Dutch playmaker could be on his way out of Real Madrid as present coach Manuel Pellegrini had apparently told Rafael he would not be a part of his plans. But he reached a deal with Real to stay for another season.
After spending the preseason without a squad number he eventually made it to the first team and has since established himself as a key player for the Los Blancos. But with Real set to splash the cash this summer with a few more big name signings, Van der Vaart's Real days might well be over.
Although uncertainty about Benitez's future at Anfield and availability of transfer funds means that the Merseyside outfit has several issues to resolve before a deal for the former Ajax favorite is pursued, Liverpool's interest has been registered.
The £10m-rated Dutch midfielder can be a good bargain for Benitez as he looks to reinforce his midfield this summer.
Lovingly called the "Beckham of Netherlands" Van der Vaart with his versatility and good vision for the game can add flair to Liverpool's attacking lineup.
Although Benitez's £24m ex-Roma midfielder "Aqualung" is yet to make an impression, the addition of Van der Vaart will add depth to the Reds' midfield where the absence of their talismanic Xabi Alonso has been felt all through this season.
With Benitez set to offload Babel, Riera, and Itandje this summer he may use the sale proceeds of these players to fund his bid for the 27-year-old Van der Vaart. The Dutch playmaker has a good vision for game and also an eye for the goal which will add to Liverpool's attacking options. A midfield combination of the versatile Van der Vaart along with Aquilani, Gerrard, and Kuyt could be a deadly threat for the Reds' opponents.
But Van der Vaart has recently stated his desire to stay at Real. Moreover, Benitez may face shortages of funds for Vaart's deal if he makes bids for Valenica's David Villa or David Silva or Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko.
Benitez may also face selection problems over Maxi, Mascherano, Lucas, and Van der Vaart. Little playing time is the last thing that Van der Vaart would be looking for in case he leaves Real this summer.
The deal is only in its early days and much can change before the transfer season opens. Putting rest to all speculations the talented Dutch international may well spend another season with Los Blancos. His move is dependent on various factors.
Will Benitez stay at Anfield? Will he have sufficient transfer funds to sign players?
And only the end of the season will be the answer to all the questions and speculations.