Benitez defends £17m fee for Johnson

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has defended his decision to splash out £17m on Portsmouth right-back Glen Johnson but admitted that he had to pay over the odds for the England international.

Johnson agreed personal terms with Liverpool on Monday and is now set to move to Anfield. The fact that Pompey still owe the Reds money for Peter Crouch should reduce the exorbitant transfer fee by a couple of million.

"Sometimes you have to spend a little bit more," Benitez told reporters today. "You can't compete in the top four of the Premier League unless you spend some money. We were looking for a player of quality and also somebody who is British because of the new Champions League rules. Glen Johnson fits both categories."

While Benitez will be hoping that Johnson is just the first of many arrivals to Anfield this summer, the Spaniard knows that he needs to hold onto Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, who have both been linked with moves to La Liga, in order to challenge for the title next year.

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