Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Liverpool Get £20m Downing

Stewart Downing has joined Liverpool after Aston Villa agreed a £20 million deal to sell their star of last season.Downing handed in a transfer request yesterday and a fee was reached between the two clubs during a series of late night telephone calls.Villa chief executive Paul Falkner "I can confirm that we have reached an agreement with Liverpool following an improved offer received earlier today and the submission of a formal transfer request by Stewart Downing and have subsequently given them permission to speak to the player."
The LFC website stated: "Liverpool have now been granted permission to discuss personal terms with the player and arrange a medical."Liverpool are currently in the Far East on a pre-season tour.Villa have already turned their attention to replacing the England winger and have now decided to step up their interest in Wigan’s Charles N’Zogbia.Alex McLeish has also earmarked Aiden McGeady as a possible target with reports the former Celtic winger is unsettled at Spartak Moscow.


Downing will leave Villa just two years into a four year contract after a complete U-turn over his prospects of signing a bumper extension.

The 26-year-old winger hinted he was willing to commit his future for longer after picking up a series of player of the season gongs at Villa’s annual awards dinner in May.


But Downing’s growing desire to quit Villa Park for Anfield was such that he submitted a formal written transfer request yesterday to try and force the issue.

However, it was Kenny Dalglish’s willingness to meet the claret and blues’ £20 million asking price, rather than the player’s actions which forced Villa to relent on their previous ‘not for sale’ stance and cash in.

McLeish was reluctant to sell the left-footed midfielder just weeks after Villa lost their other wide player Ashley Young to Manchester United for £16 million.

But the impending deal will give the new boss much more scope in the transfer market. Villa do not wish to spend much more than half of it on a replacement for Downing, freeing up spare funds to strengthen other areas of the squad.

Meanwhile, McLeish is hoping to bring out the best in players like Stephen Warnock and Stephen Ireland, who were cast aside during the Gerard Houllier era.

“I think you’ve got to understand that we’ve got to pay respect to the boys that are here,” he said.

“I think we have to move forward with what we’ve got. I said in the dressing room, we have some players who have probably not done justice to themselves or a club of this magnitude, and I have to find the reasons for that.

“Going by what I’ve seen in training, there has been a lift in the spirits of some of those individuals on training.

“I can’t just say to Randy Lerner, there’s a bunch of guys that have not been doing it, get them out and get another six in. In these days if careful trading it’s not easy to just go an decimate a whole squad and start again.”

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