Johnson hits jackpot with Anfield move

Offer of £80,000 a week should seal England full-back's £17m transfer to Liverpool

Glen Johnson has been drawn towards a £17m move to Liverpool by a salary which will make him one of the club's highest earners.

The England international defender's earnings at Anfield will be eclipsed only by the club's elite players, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, if, as expected, he becomes one of the most expensive full-backs in history and signs next week.

As well as the substantial wage, thought to be £80,000-a-week net of tax, Liverpool are also prepared to fork out £5m more for Johnson than the £12m valuation set by Portsmouth which they balked at last summer. Rafael Benitez's ability to pay this, when the club also have the purchase of a back-up striker to consider before the season starts, is in part due to the fact that they can offset the transfer fee against the £7m still owing from Portsmouth's £11m purchase of Peter Crouch last summer. The £8m Liverpool may secure from Real Madrid for their current right back – Spaniard Alvaro Arbeloa – could also help make the deal achievable for Benitez.

Nevertheless, the outlay on Johnson is extraordinary, even in the context of the last two weeks. One perspective from within Anfield yesterday was that Benitez, witnessing the frenzy of activity in the European transfer market this month, felt a need to act quickly and avoid missing out. The memory of the drawn-out Gareth Barry saga last summer also lingers for the Liverpool manager and having lost out on Barry following his move to Manchester City, and facing speculation about the futures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, he may have felt the need to make a statement of intent now.

It has been a positive 24 hours for Benitez, who learned yesterday that Real have apparently cooled on the idea of signing Alonso. The Spanish club's sporting director, Jorge Valdano, said: "Liverpool valued him at €18m last year because he wasn't an essential player. But he is now. They've given him more chances to play and he has responded magnificently."

It remains unclear what interest Real actually retain in Alonso. Valdano's interview in Marca may be a part of the negotiating process, aimed at persuading Liverpool to lower their asking price for the midfielder.

Later, Benitez discovered he had a free run in his pursuit of Johnson. In the final reckoning, Chelsea decided that a sum of £17m for a player they sold to Portsmouth for £4m two years ago was too high. Manchester City had not tabled a bid for Johnson, either.

Regarding full-backs, only Barcelona's Dani Alves and Lilian Thuram have moved for more than the figure Liverpool are set to pay for Johnson. His performance for England in Kazakhstan earlier this month suggested that his offensive wing-back play is not yet matched by defensive resilience. But Benitez has been a long-time admirer of the player and gave serious consideration last summer to the idea of offering Crouch in return for Johnson.

Now the Liverpool manager will turn his attention to filling the gap at second striker which has not been filled since Robbie Keane returned to Tottenham Hotspur in January. He has said already that he must sell to buy, so funds are limited, and the prospect of signing Valencia's David Silva now look much slimmer.

Liverpool believe that Andrea Dossena, who wants a return to Italy, may yield a further £7m for the club. Real Madrid are known to have a keen interested in the 26-year-old Arbeloa and though no bid has yet been tabled, there is optimism at Anfield that one will be forthcoming for a player who came through the ranks at the Bernabeu and made two senior appearances before his career took him to Liverpool in 2007 by way of two years at Deportivo la Coruna.

Johnson signed a new four-year contract at Portsmouth in January but club officials accepted they could not stand in his way if he was offered the opportunity to move to a club playing in the Champions League.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics rally to defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
News
John Cleese is promoting his new book
people
News
A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone get paid a tenth of what their male counterparts make per film
news
News
The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
TV
News
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
peopleUS footballer said he had hoped Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out might have helped
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game