Liverpool’s young winger Adam Hammill has signed a new contract with the club – and then gone immediately out on loan.
20-year-old Hammill will join up with Blackpool tomorrow as he begins his six-month stint at the Lancashire side. Rafa Benitez is keen to see certain members of the young reserve squad get competitive experience. Blackpool will play in the Championship for the second year running, having waited until the final day of the season to avoid relegation. It was their first season at that level in 29 years.
Hammill’s new deal with Liverpool runs until 2011, and his loan follows spells in previous season at Dunfermline and Southampton.
There has been an influx of young foreign talent coming into Liverpool’s reserves in the last couple of seasons, but Hammill is a local lad and a product of the club’s Academy. Chances of first team football at Anfield will be limited for even the most-talented youngsters, and by playing at Championship level at relatively-local side Blackpool, Hammill will get vital experience without being forgotten by the club who pay his wages.
Meanwhile a player who turned down a chance to move to Liverpool as a youngster, because he feared a lack of first team experience would stall his career, should get that chance again in the next couple of days. Tottenham’s Robbie Keane chose to start his professional career with Wolves instead, despite having supported Liverpool as a boy, and now Liverpool are believed to be on the verge of making him their latest signing.
Keane is the Spurs vice-captain, and it seems it is only the lure of Champions League football, at the club he supported as a boy, that could tempt him to look elsewhere. He signed a five-year contract just over a year ago, meaning that Liverpool will need to pay a large fee for the 28-year-old. The overall deal, including add-ons, is expected to be close to £18m. Keane is now believed to have already agreed personal terms with Liverpool, and is set to undergo a medical very soon.
The 28-year-old has the same agent as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, and was one of the guests at the opening of Carra’s restaurant in Liverpool. He is believed to be desperate to join up not only with Carra and Gerrard, but to play alongside Fernando Torres in a strong Liverpool attack.
At the moment Rafa’s summer spending is actually in credit, to the tune of around £11m. Liverpool have so far spent £10m on additions to the first-team squad, in the shape of defenders Philipp Degen and Andrea Dossena, along with goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri. Outgoing players so far are Danny Guthrie (£2.5m), Scott Carson (£3.25m), John Arne Riise (£4m) and Peter Crouch (£11m). Also no longer at the club are Harry Kewell and Anthony Le Tallec, neither of whom commanded a fee, meaning Rafa has so far had just under £21m back in.
As well as the money from those and other sales, Rafa is believed to have been handed a summer budget of £20m net. Charles Itandje, Jermaine Pennant, Steve Finnan and Xabi Alonso are all possibilities for leaving this summer, potentially bringing over £20m back in. But Rafa has other targets lined up, Villa’s Gareth Barry the most well-documented, and Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing one of a number of others being seriously considered, meaning the full budget looks likely to be used.