Carson's tumbling fortune takes him to Stoke

Liverpool had insisted they would not accept less than £10m for him but it is a sign of how much Scott Carson's star has waned over the past few months that last night he was in discussions with Stoke City after a bid of £3.5m was accepted.

Carson's descent can be traced to his disastrous debut for England last autumn when he was horribly at fault for Croatia's first goal in the 3-2 defeat that ended hopes of qualifying for the European Championships. A season's loan at Aston Villa also ended disappointingly, with the club changing its mind over whether they wanted to make the deal permanent even though they had paid a fee of £2m for him.

It had been thought that the 22-year-old, who Liverpool signed from Leeds United for £750,000 in 2005, beating off stiff competition from Chelsea, was going to be England's future goalkeeper. But after failing to make an impression at Anfield, and a loan spell at Charlton Athletic, where he was player of the year, and Villa, he has fallen far down the pecking order behind Joe Hart and Ben Foster.

Liverpool decided to cash in after completing the signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri for £3m. They are considering whether to sell Charles Idantje, who spent last season as Pepe Reina's understudy. The Frenchman has attracted interest from Galatasaray, with Liverpool keen to sell to raise funds for the purchase of Villa's Gareth Barry and a striker, with Robbie Keane heading their list.

It means Carson, who was at the Britannia Ground last night to discuss personal terms on a four-year deal and undergo a medical, will have to re-build his career at Stoke, who he has chosen ahead of one of the other clubs promoted to the Premier League last season, Hull City. He will become the club's record signing, and the first to be made since promotion was secured, with Stoke pushing ahead yesterday with a £1m deal for the Jamaican midfielder Rudolph Austin. The manager, Tony Pulis, is also looking to add Tottenham Hotspur's Anthony Gardner and Reading's Dave Kitson although he is refusing to meet the asking price of £4m for the striker.

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