Kromkamp on way to Liverpool in Josemi swap

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Kromkamp has yet to discuss personal terms but a statement from his club last night announced: "Villarreal have reached an agreement with Liverpool for the transfer of Dutch defender Jan Kromkamp to the English team and the arrival of Josemi. The agreement is between the clubs and lacks only the agreement of both players."

Josemi, 26, was Rafael Benitez's first signing as Liverpool manager when he arrived from Malaga, but he struggled to break into the first team and has also been troubled by injury.

Kromkamp joined Villarreal from AZ Alkmaar in August but he has failed to settle. His contract with Villarreal was for five years but, barring any hitches, his stay will have lasted only five months.

Villarreal knocked out Everton in the Champions' League final preliminary round and also helped to dispose of Manchester United in the group stages. Given Kromkamp's involvement in Villarreal's Champions' League campaign - they face Rangers next in the last 16 - he will be unavailable to Benitez in Europe this season.

Although Kromkamp has been a regular in Europe, he has made only six La Liga appearances. The Villarreal president, Fernando Roig, had ruled out any January sales but Liverpool have been successful in persuading them to offload Kromkamp, with the arrival of Josemi as a like-for-like replacement the ideal sweetener.

With the World Cup looming, Kromkamp recognises the relevance of playing regular first-team football, although if he is seen as a defender by Benitez, he faces a battle for selection with regular full-back Steve Finnan. Netherlands coach Marco van Basten has made Kromkamp a regular member of his squad, and he has won eight caps since making his debut against Sweden in August 2004.

Josemi was a £2m signing and has made 35 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, his latest coming as a substitute in the 2-0 Boxing Day win over Newcastle at Anfield.

Villarreal have not announced whether the deal will be a straight swap, or whether a payment will also be involved.

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