Liverpool close in on Henderson
Liverpool's shock and awe approach to the transfer market will lead the Anfield club to lodge bids for both Blackpool captain Charlie Adam and Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing once the capture of Sunderland's Jordan Henderson is complete.
Manager Kenny Dalglish and director of football Damien Comolli are hopeful of concluding a deal for the 20-year-old midfielder in the next 48 hours, with the two clubs last night edging closer to agreeing a fee.
Steve Bruce is believed to value the player at £20m -- a price Liverpool are reluctant to match. However, the Anfield hierarchy are confident a compromise price can be reached, leaving Comolli and Dalglish free to turn their focus on other targets.
Liverpool are determined to conduct the majority of their transfer dealings before their squad reconvene at the club's Melwood base for the start of pre-season training in early July and will waste no time in adding to the signing of Henderson, with Adam and Downing both viewed as priorities.
To secure 25-year-old Adam, Liverpool will have to improve on the unsuccessful £7m offer they lodged for the Scotland international in January, though Blackpool's subsequent relegation weakens their negotiating position considerably.
Dalglish believes that Downing (26), who is expected to cost around £10m, could prove crucial to eliciting the best from Andy Carroll.
The Liverpool manager, along with Comolli, is keen to infuse the club's squad with young, native talent, leading to moves for Henderson, Phil Jones of Blackburn and Ipswich striker Connor Wickham.
However, exceptions will be made for Adam, Newcastle's Spanish left-back Jose Enrique, who will cost £9m, and Roma's Brazilian goalkeeper Doni (£1m), who will act as understudy to Pepe Reina.
The club have also been linked with a move for Barcelona winger Jeffren Suarez, who has just a year left on his contract at Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, Theo Walcott hopes some summer signings can help give Arsenal a "cutting edge" next season.
"It will be interesting to see who comes and goes in the summer, the boss has said he is going to spend," Walcott said.
"We have got a great squad and play the best football, it is just a cutting edge which we need." (© Daily Telegraph, London)