Anfield youth movement gains pace with £20m Henderson
N'Gog heads to Sunderland as makeweight in deal, with Liverpool embarking on busy summer of transfers
Liverpool agreed a deal to buy Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson yesterday. The 20-year-old will cost £20m, including David N'Gog's transfer in the opposite direction.
A statement from Anfield yesterday morning announced that Henderson would undergo a medical on Merseyside after a fee had been finalised, and Sunderland confirmed that Henderson was headed for Liverpool "with the club's blessing". Their chairman Niall Quinn praised Henderson's character and suggested that the fee from Liverpool would be reinvested.
"Jordan is a credit to himself, his family and Sunderland's academy and everyone here wishes him the very best," Quinn said. "I am pleased that we got the deal to a level we felt was right for our club. We know the areas that need strengthening and the type of player we need in order to progress and the job of bringing those players to the club is continuing at a pace."
The 20-year-old had just completed his second full season in the Sunderland first team, in which he made 39 appearances and scored three goals. Henderson, who was born and brought up in Sunderland, made his debut in November 2008 before a loan spell at Coventry City later that season. His good form this season led to his England debut, in the 2-1 friendly defeat to France last November. That was his one senior cap to date, but he will be an important part of Stuart Pearce's squad for this month's European Under-21 Championship.
The purchase of Henderson is the first move of what may be a busy summer for Liverpool. As with January's £35m purchase of Andy Carroll, Henderson represents the club's enthusiasm for young English talent. They were interested in Phil Jones before his move to Manchester United.
The Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, yesterday put pressure on the club's chairman Daniel Levy to sanction "three fantastic signings" or slip further behind the leading clubs in the Premier League.
Redknapp wants to sign proven players such as West Ham midfielder Scott Parker, Aston Villa winger Ashley Young and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, but Levy would prefer to continue the policy of spotting young talent, such as Sandro who was recruited last summer from the Brazilian side Internacional for an initial fee of £6.5m.
Redknapp was frustrated in January when, despite his calls for money to strengthen the squad, only Steven Pienaar from Everton was recruited for £2.5m. Now the manager has called on Levy to bring in more established players after Spurs were overtaken by Manchester City in the top flight last season and had to settle for a spot in the Europa League.
Redknapp said: "I want Daniel to go out and get three fantastic players now to come in. You can't say that just because we didn't make the Champions League, we're not going to improve next year.
"If you do that then we're not going to get in it again. That's a fact, because you won't pass the teams that finished above you last year. If we don't improve then they will improve. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal will improve, and Man City, they're unbelievable. They are never going to stop improving as will Kenny [Dalglish] with Liverpool.
"You have to keep improving if you want to keep anywhere near those teams. I certainly feel we need three players of real quality if we are going to compete with those teams otherwise it will be very difficult."
So far this summer Tottenham have signed 40-year-old goalkeeper Brad Friedel from Aston Villa on a free transfer.
Arsenal made their first signing of the summer yesterday, buying 19-year-old defender Carl Jenkinson from Charlton Athletic. Jenkinson has played nine first-team games for Charlton, and can play at both right-back and centre-back. He has represented both England and Finland at youth level, and last year captained Finland Under-19s.
Dick Advocaat has criticised Arsène Wenger for his use of Andrei Arshavin. The Dutchman managed Arshavin at Zenit St Petersburg and said that he needs more time on the pitch to play his best football. "One of his problems is that he plays 20 minutes per game," Advocaat said. "Wenger uses him as a player who can be fielded in the second half and who can refresh the game. At Arsenal it is not enough to be a player of an episode. Expecting from him a 90-minute running means not knowing and not understanding Arshavin."
Lille forward Gervinho has announced his desire to move to England. "My mind is made up, I am leaving," he said. "I have made my mind up. I will soon meet the club and let them know, but they understand my feelings that I want to prove myself in a top league in Europe. My agents are moving things as I want, people know where my future lies, it is in England."
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