Ambitious Portsmouth close in on £10m Crouch

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Portsmouth yesterday bid £10m for the England striker Peter Crouch, their second offer for the player, and this time it appears that Liverpool are prepared to accept. The two sides were last night discussing the details of the deal with a view to an announcement next week.

The new bid is understood to be in the region of £10m with £8m payable immediately. Portsmouth had previously been rebuffed with a bid of £9m, with £7m of that up front but this time they have reached the negotiating table and are hopeful of a successful deal. The final say is with the player himself but he would be happy to play under Harry Redknapp at Fratton Park for the second time in his career.

Crouch, 27, has also figured high on Tottenham's list of targets this summer but they have been limited by the dragging out of the Dimitar Berbatov transfer saga. Equally Aston Villa would have liked him as part of the Gareth Barry deal but Rafael Benitez has not sanctioned it. Although Benitez priced Crouch at £15m originally, the revised offer is still a good deal for a player with only one year left on his contract.

Crouch, who will be offered a four-year contract, is the first of three English players Redknapp hopes to sign this summer including Shaun Wright-Phillips from Chelsea and Reading's Nicky Shorey. The victory in the FA Cup last season has given Redknapp considerably more power in attracting high-profile players, coupled with the success of Sol Campbell and Jermain Defoe at the club.

Under Benitez, Crouch has endured a difficult third season at Liverpool. He started only nine Premier League games and was used less and less as a substitute in the big Champions League matches. Although Fernando Torres was ahead of him in a formation that used just one orthodox striker, he still managed 11 goals over the season including a run of three in four games in April. For that reason Liverpool did offer him an improved contract last season but with first team opportunities looking increasingly bleak he reluctantly made the decision to leave at the end of the season. Although Benitez and Liverpool did initially price him out of the market with the £15m valuation, the club were well aware that Crouch had no intention of signing a new deal and could leave for nothing next summer, and have since moderated their asking price.

It would not be inconceivable that Tottenham could bid for Crouch when they realise that the deal with Portsmouth is close to completion. The striker's departure could be the move that breaks the Premier League transfer stalemate with the funds going towards Liverpool's pursuit of Gareth Barry.