Capture of £10m Kuyt will complete Liverpool signings

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Liverpool were in talks last night to complete the £10m signing of the Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt. The player's agent, Rob Jansen, is understood to have travelled to meet the club's representatives after Rafael Benitez rekindled his interest in the Feyenoord captain.

The move for Kuyt by the Liverpool manager followed the completion of Jermaine Pennant's transfer from Birmingham City yesterday. The 23-year-old right-winger agreed a four-year deal for a fee of £6.7m, with £300,000 dependent on appearances.

There are also believed to be other clauses which would push the total fee closer to Birmingham's original £8m valuation - way above Liverpool's first offer of £3.5m. Twenty-five per cent of the fee is due to go to Arsenal who had a sell-on clause for the player.

The former England Under-21 winger, who cost Birmingham £3m last year, is now expected to fly out to join Liverpool's Swiss training camp and make his debut on Saturday against Kaiserslautern in Liechtenstein.

"If I'm needed, I'm fit to play," Pennant said. "I've dreamt about this since I was a little boy. My best will come at this club because I am playing alongside top-quality players who will only help me develop my game.

"This is the best club in the country and the best club to be at so if I can't do it here then I won't be able to do it anywhere."

The package, the structure of the deal and the fact that Liverpool will now drop their interest in Daniel Alves, who Seville wanted £12m for, means that Benitez has been given leeway in his attempts to secure long-term target Kuyt. His hand has also been strengthened by the 26-year-old's desire to leave Dutch football and move to England and, more significantly, because Feyenoord have failed to drum up any interest from other Champions' League clubs following Kuyt's disappointing displays in the World Cup.

Feyenoord had hoped to create an auction for Kuyt, who was close to joining Tottenham Hotspur last year and has also interested Newcastle United as well as several Spanish clubs, in the hope of securing £14m.

Benitez is also close to agreeing a deal to sell Djimi Traoré to Charlton Athletic for £1m, after the Addicks missed out on Middlesbrough's Franck Queudrue, with Salif Diao also on trial at The Valley. The arrival of Fabio Aurelio has hastened Traoré's departure and his agent, Willie McKay, confirmed yesterday that a deal should be completed this week.

Benitez also intends to sell the goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek and the defender Jan Kromkamp although his attempts to interest Feyenoord in a players plus cash deal involving the pair has failed. Kromkamp is more likely to move to PSV Eindhoven.

Liverpool would prefer not to pay as much as £10m for Kuyt and had hoped to do a deal for around £8m but his arrival will complete Benitez's acquisitions this summer following on from the signings of Craig Bellamy, Gabriel Paletta, Mark Gonzalez and Aurelio.

After letting Fernando Morientes and Djibril Cissé move on, Benitez had flirted with the idea of trying to take Juventus's David Trezeguet, possibly on loan, but has decided to go back for Kuyt because he fits the bill of the kind of hard-working, powerful striker that he is seeking.

Liverpool had previously inquired about Darren Bent but were put off by the asking price. The striker has since signed a new, improved deal at Charlton, who also announced yesterday that the goalkeeper Scott Carson and 18-year-old winger Paul Anderson, a star of the club's FA Youth Cup-winning side last season, had agreed new long-term deals.