Dalglish cuts Malaysia trip to sign Downing

Updated: 14 July 2011 18:41 IST

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will leave the team's Malaysia tour early and return to England on Thursday to finalise the signing of England winger Stewart Downing from Aston Villa.

Dalglish cuts Malaysia trip to sign Downing

Kuala Lumpur:

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will leave the team's Malaysia tour early and return to England on Thursday to finalise the signing of England winger Stewart Downing from Aston Villa.

Downing has been Dalglish's main summer target but the Reds boss had bids of £12 million and £15 million turned down.

But the former Middlesbrough player submitted in a transfer request to force Villa's hand and an undisclosed fee, believed to be £20 million, was agreed on Wednesday.

Liverpool have targeted 26-year-old Downing as the answer to the team's troubling left wing problem.

The England international will undergo a medical at Merseyside where he will also thrash out personal terms, and it is understood that Dalglish will meet the player before he puts pen to paper.

Downing will be Dalglish's third summer signing, following Blackpool's Charlie Adams and Sunderland's Jordan Henderson.

This takes Dalglish's spending close to £100 million since he returned to Anfield in January, when he shelled out close to £60 million to sign Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Aston Villa had earlier 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.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had previously tried to hijack Liverpool's bid to buy Downing from Villa.

This is Liverpool's first trip to Malaysia and they kicked off their Asian tour with a 4-3 victory over China's Guangdong Sunray Cave on Wednesday.

When asked about Downing, Dalglish said: "We have agreed a fee with Aston Villa and he will undergo a medical. It is an ongoing process and we will reveal the details once everything is sorted out."

The former Liverpool player, among the greatest ever to pull on the famous red shirt, also said getting into the Champions League should be the team's main target for the coming season.

Liverpool missed out on Europe this season after only finishing sixth in May.

"We may have fewer games this season as we are not in Europe but every good side wants to play in the Champions League," said Dalglish, who won three European Cups with Liverpool in 1978, 1981 and 1984.

"Our target for the coming season is to improve on our sixth placing and hopefully get into the Champions League."

Meanwhile, the Reds' managing director Ian Ayre confirmed Liverpool will also tour Asia in 2013.

"It took us a long time to come to Malaysia but we would like to come back here again. We will be back in Asia in 2013 but have yet to decide which countries we will be going to," he said.

Topics : Football Alex Ferguson Stewart Downing Steven Gerrard Fernando Jose Torres Sanz Aston Villa
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