By Chris Wright
Liverpool have agreed a £20 million fee with Aston Villa for Stewart Downing, after seeing their opening bids of £12.5 million and £15 million knocked back last week.
A brief statement on the Liverpool site reads:
“Liverpool FC tonight announced they had agreed a fee with Aston Villa for the transfer of Stewart Downing.
“Liverpool have now been granted permission to discuss personal terms with the player and arrange a medical.”
Downing is now expected to travel to Melwood to be given the once-over at some point later today, with the transfer officially going through either tonight or first-thing tomorrow, barring and unforeseen problems.
So, £45 million later and Downing becomes Liverpool’s third big-money signing of the summer after Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam.
While £20 million seems like an awful lot of cash at first glance, it’s safe to say that the Reds have actually gone out and snared themselves the best crosser in the Premier League* – exactly what you need when Andy Carroll is more than likely going to be the focal point of your attacking line.
Moreover, this means Villa have quickly seen their three-pronged attack of 2010/11 completely disassembled in a matter of weeks following Ashley Young’s move to Manchester United. Big Eck certainly has his work cut out if he’s going to pull adequate replacements out of his arse before August.
Any thoughts chaps?
* based on OptaJoe’s statistics: ‘135 – Stewart Downing has completed more crosses in open play than any other player in the Premier League over the last three seasons’.