Boost for Liverpool as youngster Jordon Ibe agrees five-year contract
Liverpool have agreed a five-year contract with Jordon Ibe, which will be signed next week.
The 19-year-old winger, who broke into the Liverpool senior side this year and will be a key member of Brendan Rodgers's plans next season, will be tied to Anfield until at least 2020 under the new deal, which is expected to be confirmed shortly after the final home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Liverpool officials have been in discussion with Ibe, 19, for the past few weeks and got agreement over the past few days.
The club insisted that reaching agreement with the player was a smooth process because Ibe was represented by his stepfather rather than an agent.
Club officials have been in no doubt Ibe would be retained as he had two years of an existing deal remaining and there was an eagerness to reward his progress.
Ibe made his Liverpool debut two years ago and began this season on loan at Derby County.
Such was his form that he was recalled in January and has forced himself ahead of more high-profile signings such as Lazar Markovic as a preferred option on the wing.
Derby certainly missed his influence, having led the Championship with him in their ranks but suffered a dip in form once he returned to Anfield which resulted in them missing out on the play-offs.
Ibe signed for Liverpool aged 16 from Wycombe Wanderers in 2012 during Kenny Dalglish's tenure at the club and there are hopes that he will follow the likes of Raheem Sterling into the England squad.
Liverpool have come under some criticism for their handling of contract negotiations this season, but it is now only the Sterling issue causing a major problem because he rejected a £100,000-a-week deal, his agent Aidy Ward initially demanding £150,000 a week before calling off negotiations.
There have been attempts to give the impression that the difficulty in Sterling's case has been part of a broader trend, but that no longer stands up to scrutiny as the vast majority of those who were promised contracts during the past 12 months have now agreed terms.
Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and now Ibe will head into next season on recently penned long-term deals.
Martin Skrtel is expected to renew his terms this summer, and Jon Flanagan will be retained despite facing another year on the sidelines with injury.
Steven Gerrard was offered a deal in December but the Liverpool captain turned it down to continue his playing career in the United States with LA Galaxy.
Liverpool still hope Sterling, 20, will listen to his manager and commit to Anfield over the next few months, particularly as it has been made clear that the club have no intention of letting him go this summer and would rather keep him on his £35,000-a-week contract for the next two years than sell him to a rival.
It is especially important that Liverpool retain their best players this summer as they seek a return to the Champions League.
It would take a bid of around £50m - enough to secure a ready-made replacement - to change the stance on Sterling and there is no indication that any team in Europe currently value him at such a level.
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard will earn an annual salary of $6m (€5.3) when he signs for New York City, making him one of the highest-paid players in the MSL. In contrast, goalkeeper Josh Saunders will earn just $50,000-a-year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)