Football: Liverpool agree fee for Downing

14 July 2011 01:00

Liverpool moved closer to signing England winger Stewart Downing from Aston Villa after the two Premier League clubs agreed a fee late on Wednesday.

Former Middlesbrough favourite Downing, 26, has been a long-term target for the Reds and talks can now begin with the player.

Liverpool said in a statement on their website: "Liverpool have now been granted permission to discuss personal terms with the player and arrange a medical."

Villa had rejected bids of £12 million ($19.3 million) and £15 million ($24.2 million) from Liverpool and manager Alex McLeish said he wanted Downing to stay in the Midlands.

But Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner said Wednesday: "I can confirm that we have reached an agreement with Liverpool following an improved offer received earlier today (Wednesday) and the submission of a formal transfer request by Stewart Downing.

"We have subsequently given them permission to speak with the player."

Villa have already lost one winger in Ashley Young, signed by Premier League champions Manchester United, and could find themselves on the lookout for another if Downing moves to Anfield.

However, Faulkner said: "We believe there are replacements available in the market who can strengthen our squad ahead of the coming season, and we are in discussions as such."

Liverpool's latest offer, which has not been disclosed by either club, for Downing is understood to be worth £20 million ($32 million).

That would be a figure to tempt Villa given Downing has only two years left on his contract and is on record as saying he would not sign an extension with the Birmingham side.

Should Downing go to Anfield, he would become Liverpool's third high-profile midfield pre-season signing following the arrival of Jordan Henderson from Sunderland and Charlie Adam from Blackpool.

Source: AFP