Liverpool have finally managed to agree a fee with Southampton for striker Peter Crouch. Crouch has now agreed terms on his contract with the Reds, and subject to a medical tomorrow will become Liverpool’s latest signing in a busy summer of activity.
According to the official Southampton website the player is going to cost the Reds £7million. Crouch was determined to join the Reds once his manager had told him of the interest, and even interest from Middlesbrough, Charlton, West Ham and Manchester City was not going to sway him.
The first indication to Saints boss Harry Redknapp that his club had accepted the bid was when Crouch was missing this morning. Redknapp said: "Peter did not turn up for training today and I believe he is talking to Liverpool. A fee of £7m is good money and obviously it was too good to turn down. I knew Liverpool wanted him and were getting closer and were not letting go. Several other clubs were interested but it has happened suddenly today. Deals are not done manager to manager any more but chairman to chief executive in this case. It was a lot of money and it is a board decision."
Reds Chief Executive Rick Parry has been very busy this summer, and after having an earlier bid of £6million turned down he finally persuaded Saints Chairman Rupert Lowe to sell the new England international. Redknapp was unhappy to lose the player, but was full of praise for the attitude of Crouch during all of the speculation. He said: "I would love to have kept him. He was a key player and he is a good lad too. Throughout all of this he has been good as gold and I am sure he will be a big success there."
Southampton’s website also claims that Crouch handed in a formal transfer request earlier in the week, a move that finally forced Lowe’s hand. Crouch felt that playing for the European Champions, even if only as a squad player, would be much more beneficial to him than playing in the Championship for Southampton. Crouch took a huge pay cut when Southampton were relegated, a clause built into his contract ensured his wages would drop if the team went down a division. Liverpool’s offer will eclipse what he was on with Southampton even during their Premiership days.
Crouch will not be available for the first two league games of the season – he picked up a three-game ban at the end of last season and still has two games left to serve. His last act for Southampton was to score twice in their friendly against Kilmarnock.
Redknapp – father of former Reds captain Jamie – was asked by Sky Sports News what he thought was special about the striker: "What’s special about him is he’s 6ft 8ins, that’s probably the most special thing. He’s got terrific touch, he’s good in the air, has a good understanding of the game and is a fantastic player."
Redknapp repeated how professional the player has been during the speculation: "He’s a good lad and has not been a minute’s problem even when this has been going on. Many players would have thrown their dummies out of the pram but he’s come in every day, worked hard and been a fantastic example to everybody. I wish him well and I’m sure he’ll be a big success at Liverpool."
Next for Rafa Benitez is a centre-back, and the move for Luis Figo may still go ahead this week.