Reds agree Henderson fee, closing in on other targets

Liverpool and Sunderland are understood to have agreed a fee for midfielder Jordan Henderson, with Reds striker David Ngog moving the opposite way in a proposed deal worth close to £20m. Both players will now undergo medicals today.

Earlier in the evening The Times reported that the two clubs were close to agreeing a deal, with £2m the difference in opinion of the relative worth of their players. Sunderland had asked for £13m plus Ngog, Liverpool were offering £11m plus the young striker. There was also a stand-off about the terms of the cash component of the deal – Liverpool wanted at least some of the fee to be based on appearances, something Sunderland were opposed to. With the two clubs now agreeing a fee of £13m plus Ngog it seems likely that Sunderland agreed to at least part of that fee being in the form of add-ons.

Although some supporters were concerned at the idea of paying £20m for such a young player those same supporters would no doubt be surprised at a deal that values Ngog at as much as £7m. Ngog is a capable enough player but he was likely to be left out in the cold next season had he stayed at Anfield, a situation all the more likely should Liverpool succeed in their pursuit of Ipswich striker Connor Wickham.

With the Henderson deal now all but in the bag the next focus for Liverpool, as well as Wickham, is expected to be on another midfielder, Charlie Adam of Blackpool. The Lancashire side knocked Liverpool back in January when offered £7m, but that was before relegation. Adam is believed to be looking for a move but Blackpool manager Ian Holloway won’t let that fact alone soften his stance on the fee.

Liverpool’s midfield options will increase should all their expected deals go through, a situation that could put the futures of Maxi Rodriguez and possibly even Raul Mereiles in some doubt given that the club have only recently extended the stays of both Lucas Leiva and Jay Spearing. Christian Poulsen’s agent claims Liverpool have made no suggestions at all that they are looking to offload the player this summer, but Poulsen will know his chances were already extremely limited under Kenny and aren’t likely to get much better.

Liverpool target Phil Jones is now said to be a target for Arsenal with both clubs looking to persuade the Blackburn defender to make the move. Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique has reportedly told Newcastle he has no intention of signing a new deal and will instead leave on a free transfer at the end of next season. Liverpool had been linked with a move for the player and although their interest has eased off of late it hasn’t stopped Newcastle from looking for his replacement, a search that saw them making a bid for Swansea’s Neil Taylor yesterday.

The Reds are still pursuing Steward Downing of managerless Aston Villa and with very little competition so far for a player expected to fetch around £10m. Internet rumours of a Liverpool move for Valencia’s Juan Mata seem to be nothing more than that. Claims of Liverpool’s interest in Barcelona’s Jeffrén Suárez, by the player himself on Spanish radio, is believed to be true but the decision to go public about it seems to be little more than a negotiating tactic designed to help that player get an improved deal at his own club.

Meanwhile, Liverpool look set to sign a new substitute keeper after the agent of Roma’s Doni claimed the two sides had agreed a fee of £1m. Gulacsi is expected to go out on loan next season and Brad Jones is expected to move on over the summer.