Friday, June 10, 2011

Liverpool Complete Jordan Henderson Deal

Liverpool has completed the signing of Jordan Henderson from Sunderland.

The 20-year-old England international passed his medical and agreed personal terms with the club on Thursday in a deal reported to be worth £20m.

Henderson, the club's first summer signing, signed what Liverpool described as 'a long-term deal'.

"I'm over the moon, overjoyed to be here and I'm really looking forward to it," Henderson told the Liverpool website.

"Obviously it's hard to leave your local club. I'm a Sunderland lad, I've supported them all my life.

"But I'm really looking forward to the future now and obviously this is a massive opportunity for me. I'm really excited by it."

The midfielder, whose one and only cap for England came last November against France, has now joined the England Under-21 squad in Denmark ahead of the European Championship.

The Black Cats had rejected Liverpool's previous offer for the player, which was thought to be worth £16m.

Striker David Ngog, 22, could move in the opposite direction as part of the deal, but that is yet to be confirmed.

Henderson will provide competition in the Reds' midfield, which already boasts internationals Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Raul Meireles and Christian Poulsen.

"Coming to a massive club like Liverpool, there is always going to be competition," added Henderson. "Hopefully I can keep working hard, keep improving, and get my chance on the pitch.

"(Gerrard) is one of the best players in the world, you want to be playing with him and training with him to try and improve yourself as a player. Hopefully I can learn a lot from him."

Henderson 'Over The Moon' After Signing Anfield Deal

Jordan Henderson has spoken of his excitement at signing for Liverpool after the midfielder's move from Sunderland was confirmed yesterday.

Henderson has put pen to paper on what the Merseyside club have described as a "long-term deal" having visited the Reds' Melwood training complex, undergone a medical and agreed personal terms on Wednesday. Liverpool has paid an undisclosed fee for the highly rated 20-year-old, with reports suggesting it could be up to £20m.

"I'm over the moon, overjoyed to be here and I'm really looking forward to it," said Henderson. "I was flattered to know Liverpool were interested in me and, once I knew, it was a massive decision for me to make but also a massive opportunity.

"Obviously it's hard to leave your local club. I'm a Sunderland lad, I've supported them all my life.

"But I'm really looking forward to the future now and obviously this is a massive opportunity for me. I'm really excited by it."

Henderson is Liverpool's first signing of the summer and -- following the captures of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in January -- the third high-profile new recruit since Fenway Sports Group's takeover of the club and Kenny Dalglish's return as manager.

The Sunderland youth academy graduate made his Black Cats debut in a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea in November 2008. In total he has made 79 appearances for the Wearsiders, scoring five goals, and he also spent a spell on loan at Coventry in the 2008-09 season.

It had been thought Liverpool striker David Ngog might travel in the opposite direction as part of the transfer. He remains at Anfield for now, but Reds director of football Damien Comolli has indicated the 22-year-old could still be headed for the Stadium of Light.

Comolli Says He Consulted Gerrard Before Sanctioning Jordan Henderson Move

Damien Comolli has revealed he consulted Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard before making a move for Jordan Henderson.

The director of football has also disclosed French striker David Ngog – who not part of the transfer, despite speculation – is set to hold talks with Sunderland.

Comolli believes 20-year-old Henderson not only has the physical attributes but also the attitude to succeed - qualities Gerrard saw when the pair were on international duty together last year.

Henderson’s arrival at Anfield could spark more transfer activity says Comolli who is delighted to have secured his services.

“I spoke to Stevie about Jordan before we signed him,” said Comolli.

“Stevie was very positive because obviously they have been together in the England camp.

“I know Jordan really appreciated the fact he was able to play next to Stevie with England. He will learn from players like Jamie Carragher or Stevie or Dirk Kuyt. I think he looked into the history of the club as well.

“I’m very pleased because he was one of the targets we had and when you get your first target it’s always a good sign because you think the others will come through as well.

“He has got all the skills technically that we needed. He’s good with the ball, he’s creative, he’s got good passing, he’s physically very good.

“That’s everything we wanted in a midfielder and he’s versatile as well.

“For Kenny he will be the player we wanted.

“He’s very passionate about football, very committed, a top professional. He’s the type of player who’ll stay behind after training and do extra work.

“When you talk to him it’s not about money or anything related to off the pitch.

“Everything is on the pitch: where am I going to play, have I got a chance to play, where can I develop most as a player.

“Kenny and I were very impressed with that and his commitment and passion for the game.

Comolli added: “Sunderland have had a strong interest in David, so we’ve agreed to let David speak to Sunderland about his future to see if he’s interested in going there.

“They’ve expressed a strong interest, so we’ll see what’s next for him.”

Although there will be strong competition for first team places in the Liverpool midfield next season, Comolli says Henderson will not be held back.

“He is definitely a player for now,” he said.

“Obviously it’s up to Kenny to decide but we see him as a player for now.

“In all the talks Kenny had with him he said. ‘If you come you will be very, very, very much a part of my plans’.

“We know we are building for the future.

“We think he’s going to be a top player and that’s all that matters.”

Lyon Defender Dejan Lovren Linked With Anfield Move

Liverpool is reportedly monitoring Lyon defender Dejan Lovren in their pursuit of summer reinforcements.

According to The Telegraph, the 21-year-old Croatia international is on the radar of the Reds as they look to add a centre-back to their ranks during the transfer window.

Liverpool had made an attempt to sign Blackburn teenager Phil Jones and, despite Rovers accepting an offer from the Merseysiders, the 19-year-old opted to join Manchester United.

Some bookies had even suspended betting on Jones moving to Anfield, but Liverpool were pipped to the post by the fierce north west rivals, which has led Kenny Dalglish to look elsewhere.

Lovren is reportedly on the radar of the Liverpool boss, as is Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann and Paris Saint-Germaine youngster Mamadou Sakho, with the Frenchman also a target for Arsenal.

While at least one central defender looks set to join Liverpool before the start of the new season, Sotirios Kyrgiakos will reportedly leave Anfield during the summer.

TalkSPORT suggests the Greece international will see his two year Anfield stay ended as Liverpool make room for younger alternatives to the 31-year-old.

Liverpool Facing £8m French Fight Over Asian Playmaker

Liverpool has reportedly been joined by Paris St Germaine in the race to sign Keisuke Honda.

The Japanese international has been linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League for several months now, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also known to be an admirer of the 24-year-old.

Despite previously admitting a preference to ply his trade in Spain, interest from clubs across Europe continues to circulate around the CSKA Moscow star, with Liverpool and PSG thought to be two of the current frontrunners.

"CSKA are in the Champions League so staying is not a bad option. But I do want to test myself at a higher level if the opportunity arises," the Daily Star quote the player as saying at the start of the week.

An attacking midfielder who can also play up-front, L'Equipe claim the Ligue 1 outfit have identified the player as a 'priority' target, and that the French side are currently considering an £8 million offer.

TalkSPORT reports that Honda has been on Kenny Dalglish's radar for some time now, and that the Liverpool boss appeared to be ready to make a concrete offer for the player.

The Scot is known to be in the market for an attacking midfielder, winger and left back, and after appearing to miss out on Ashley Young, Liverpool attentions could now turn to Honda.

The signature would also please the club's chief sponsors, Standard Chartered, who has hinted that the signing of an Asian player would help Liverpool expand their global reach in such a lucrative area of the market.

Bojan Krkic, Eden Hazard and Stewart Downing have also been linked with a move, but PSG's apparent preparation of a bid may force Liverpool to show their hand for Honda quicker than first planned.

Liverpool Launch £5m Bid For Arsenal's Gael Clichy

Liverpool has launched a £5 million bid for Arsenal defender Gael Clichy, according to The Times.

The Anfield club, having already finalized a deal for midfielder Jordan Henderson on Thursday, are seemingly on the look-out for a full-back, with Clichy reportedly top of their list.

The 25-year-old is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates and has been reluctant to put pen to paper on a new contract with the north London club.

With the backing of owner John W. Henry, Kenny Dalglish has been splashing the cash since January with players such as Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez arriving in big-money deals.

If the Reds and Arsenal can agree a fee, the report suggests the defender would be willing to a move north as Dalglish's side look to establish themselves with the Premier League elite next season.

Reds To Choose Between Monreal And Cissokho

Liverpool are weighing up a move for left backs Nacho Monreal, 25, of Osasuna or Lyon's Aly Cissokho, 23, each at £9million.

Monreal has four Spain caps while Cissokho has played once for France.

Liverpool is already well advanced with deals for Sunderland's Jordan Henderson, Connor Wickham of Ipswich and also want Blackpool's Charlie Adam.

They are in talks with Roma goalkeeper Doni's agent after the clubs agreed a £1.5m move, leaving manager Kenny Dalglish needing just a winger.

Aston Villa's Stewart Downing remains in the frame.

'Suarez Can Join LFC Greats'

Luis Suarez has all the attributes to join the pantheon of Liverpool greats, according to Jan Molby.

Suarez emulated Molby when he swapped Ajax for Anfield in January - and his adaptation to life in England has been phenomenal.

The Uruguay international has notched four goals and five outright assists in 1,153 minutes of Barclays Premier League football so far.

He's already etched great memories into the minds of supporters, including an audacious strike in Sunderland and a mazy dribble through the Manchester United defence to set Liverpool on their way to victory in March.

Molby has not been surprised.

"I found it amazing he was allowed to play in Holland for as long as he did, with his goals record and what he's done internationally as well," the 47-year-old told LFC TV.

"I never had any doubts. He can play anywhere on the field, and by that I mean he pops up everywhere and is almost impossible to mark.

"He's a very comfortable two-footed player, he sees a pass, he can dribble. I always say to people: that's what a good player looks like.

"We have a great, great player at this club and his job now is to go on and become one of the all-time greats at Anfield, and he's got all the tools to do that."

Despite lavishing praise on Suarez, Molby thinks we haven't seen the best of the 24-year-old yet.

He explained: "Kenny will want him to play further up the field, and it's not as relaxed as it is in Holland because Ajax win games by five and six. It's a case of making him understand that there are going to be fewer opportunities to score goals, fewer opportunities to create chances, so he has to be bang on the money every time."

Steven Gerrard In Tip-Top Condition After Operation

Steven Gerrard had taken the supporters’ coach down to Villa Park and was settling into his seat in the away end by the time the double takes from disbelieving fans gave way to the inevitable bouts of mickey-taking.

“There was a bit of banter flying around,” said Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. “Stuff like, ‘You won’t get back in the team, Stevie’ and ‘You’ve got a fight on next season, Gerrard, to get past Lucas and Spearo [Jay Spearing]’.

“It was all good natured. But I don’t mind all that. I know what I can do and I know the challenge ahead for me. I welcome all that. Right now, I’m just steaming for a game of football again.”

Three weeks on and the playful ribbing he received still brings a smile to midfielder Gerrard’s face. That day when he went back to his roots succeeded in planting a seed in his mind that he believes would help others at Anfield blossom.

While Cesc Fabregas was in Barcelona to watch the Formula One Grand Prix rather than being at the Emirates for Arsenal’s final game of the campaign, Gerrard’s decision to travel to the Midlands with his mates represented a touch of class.

“I was a fan for a day,” he said. “Carra [Jamie Carragher] had done it a few years ago and I’d had a few letters saying I should go to an away game. It was an eye-opener for me to get in among them. For a young player in our squad, or maybe one of the foreign lads, to have a day like that would really help them.

“Fans absolutely adore the players. Everything is about the players for them, so for a player to give up a day, mix with the fans and give a little back...well, there’s no harm in that.

“I am not putting pressure on anyone, but it is important for the players to have that link with the fans. If this club is going to be successful, everybody needs to stick together.” Gerrard is confident that, with the focus having shifted from all the shenanigans in the boardroom to what happens out on the pitch, Liverpool has recovered their identity.