Henderson on his way to Liverpool for £20m

08 June 2011 12:31
Sunderland last night agreed to sell highly-rated midfielder Jordan Henderson for £20m to Liverpool.

The deal, which would see striker David Ngog travelling in the opposite direction, has been completed subject to medicals for both players today.

The Black Cats confirmed the deal this morning on the club's official website.

A club spokesperson said: "A fee has been agreed with Liverpool for Jordan Henderson and he travels to Anfield today with the club's blessing."

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has pledged to replace Henderson using the funds raised from the deal.

"Jordan is a credit to himself, his family and Sunderland's Academy and everyone here wishes him the very best for the future," he said.

" I am pleased that we got the deal to a level that we felt was right for our club. We know the areas that need strengthening and the type of player we need in order to progress and the job of bringing those players to the club is continuing apace."

The news comes after days of frenzied speculation, with the Reds determined to get their hands on Henderson before he heads off with the England Under-21s squad for the European Championships in Denmark today.

Liverpool, who signed striker Andy Carroll from Newcastle United in a January spending spree, have wasted little time in trying to implement their summer rebuilding mission.

The Black Cats had insisted throughout reports of the Merseysiders' interest in their highest-profile academy graduate that he was simply not for sale.

However, the reality which has long been acknowledged by manager Steve Bruce is that every player has his price and for Henderson, that had been set at around the £20m mark.

Bruce had no desire to sell a player who emerged from the ranks to hold down a regular place in his hometown club's first-choice XI.

However, as was the case when Aston Villa came calling in January with a deal potentially rising to £24m for Darren Bent, Sunderland were made an offer which represents a significant return on their investment.

If the figures add up favourably, what is not in dispute is that Henderson's departure will leave another major hole in Bruce's squad.

Henderson's form suffered in the immediate aftermath of his senior England debut against France in November last year, but the 20-year-old has been a key man for the Black Cats in the last two seasons and will take some replacing.

Bruce is already engaged in an extensive recruitment drive with Bent yet to be replaced, while the returns of loan signings Danny Welbeck, Nedum Onuoha, John Mensah and Sulley Muntari to their clubs has left him with a series of sizeable gaps to plug.

Bruce is targeting as many as three strikers and in the circumstances, the inclusion of 22-year-old Ngog in the deal will prove an attractive benefit, although he has been a largely peripheral figure during his three seasons to date at Anfield.

Allowing Henderson to leave will add another item to the shopping list but significantly boost his transfer kitty, with owner Ellis Short remaining supportive but having reined in some of the rather less controlled spending of recent years.

However, it may not go down too well with fans who still blame Bent's shock departure for the club's slump during the second half of last season.

Liverpool have also been linked with Black Cats skipper Lee Cattermole in recent days, although it is unlikely that Bruce would be prepared to part with two members of his first-choice midfield.

As well as bringing in Ngog, Sunderland could rekindle their interest in England striker Peter Crouch using funds raised by the sale of Henderson.

Bringing Crouch to Wearside would end a lengthy pursuit of the 6ft 7ins Tottenham forward. Bruce tried to sign him two years ago, but Crouch opted to go to White Hart Lane, while Roy Keane failed to tempt the beanpole striker to the Stadium of Light in 2008 while a Liverpool player.

Crouch scored 12 goals in 47 appearances for Tottenham, including a hat-trick against Young Boys in the Champions League, but Harry Redknapp is prepared to listen to offers.

Bruce is also believed to be interested in Manchester United's Wes Brown and Darron Gibson.

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Source: Northern_Echo

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