Reports tonight suggest that Liverpool are on the final straight in their pursuit of Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson with the two clubs believed to be moving closer to an agreement on the fee.
Sunderland have made it clear they value their home-grown 20-year-old at £20m and were unimpressed with Liverpool‘s early enquiries at a fee of £13m. Dialogue continued between the two clubs with Liverpool indicating a willingness to increase their offer to as much as £16m, but Sunderland remained firm on their £20m asking price.
Henderson has now reportedly indicated that he wishes to speak to Liverpool and is eager to do so in time for any deal to be done before he travels away on Wednesday with the England Under-21 squad for the European Championship finals in Denmark. This development increases the chances of a middle ground being found for the fee, with The Times reporting that a fee of £18.5m has now been mentioned, just £1.5m short of Sunderland’s valuation.
The fee is substantial for such a young player but should Liverpool spend somewhere in that region for the player it will signal the intent of the club to do all that is possible to find the right players for the next stage in the second Dalglish era. Henderson is not Liverpool’s only target for the summer; the contrast between the club eight months ago, when administration and relegation were topics under serious discussion, is marked. The club no longer have the huge burden of acquisition debt to service and the sale of Torres in January brought an extra £15m into the club’s coffers. The club are also working on reducing the huge chunk of the wage bill that goes on players rarely part of the first team.
Wages on offer by the club will remain attractive where appropriate; The Times also report that Liverpool are willing to offer Henderson a personal deal worth around £60,000 per week, three times what he is currently on at the Stadium of Light.
According to The Guardian Kenny Dalglish sees Henderson in a central midfield role at Anfield, and with Liverpool’s interest in Charlie Adam still strong it’s no surprise that, despite reports linking Lee Cattermole to Anfield, the Reds are yet to show any desire to include Henderson’s team-mate in their transfer plans for this summer.
Liverpool’s Scottish teenager Danny Wilson is being widely reported as on the verge of a move back to Glasgow Rangers on a 12-month loan deal. Wilson was signed for £2m last year but has seen his chances of first team football very much limited. A loan move to Rangers would see the full Scottish international back playing first-team football and would allow Dalglish to assess his chances of being a long-term part of Liverpool’s plans. Meanwhile, Blackburn’s teenager defender Phil Jones continues to be strongly linked with a move to Anfield.