Liverpool on the brink of landing Pennant for £6.2m

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The Independent Online

Liverpool are on the brink of signing the winger Jermaine Pennant in a £6.2m transfer from Birmingham. Sources close to the Championship club claim a deal has been agreed and that the player is on his way to Anfield for talks.

Liverpool have been trailing the former Arsenal youngster for several weeks, but had Seville's Brazilian midfielder Daniel Alves as their No 1 target. But the Spanish club are insisting on a £12m deal and the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, considers that too high a price since the fee would wipe out his entire summer transfer budget.

Benitez claimed on Monday that there "could be another two players in by the weekend", and his first target was clearly Pennant. Birmingham confirmed that they had turned down one bid of £3.5m from the Anfield club, and the Blues manager, Steve Bruce, suggested that he wanted £8m because of the 25 per cent sell-on clause in the deal when he signed the player from Arsenal for £3m a year ago.

The clubs are now believed to have agreed a £6.2m deal, leaving Benitez with funds to bring in another striker. That could be Feyenoord's Dirk Kuyt, but again they will have to try to negotiate down the Dutch club's £12m asking price.

Liverpool have tried one player-cash approach, thought to involve Jan Kromkamp and Jerzy Dudek in part-exchange, which was rejected. But if the deal for Pennant goes through, it will solve a year-long problem for Benitez, who has tried to sign a right-sided attacker for the past three transfer windows.

Bruce could use the money from a Pennant deal to finance another bid for Gary McSheffrey. Birmingham have had two offers rejected for Coventry's leading scorer last season, but Bruce needs a new striker to supplement D J Campbell, Mikael Forssell and Cameron Jerome, particularly after the sale of Emile Heskey to Wigan for £5.5m.

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