With Liverpool announcing they have agreed a deal to sign Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson, for a fee believed to be worth around £20m, reaction to the price has been largely of surprise – much like the Andy Carroll fee in January.
Young and English generally means you pay a premium, but the purchase of another player with such potential shows a signal of intent early during the transfer window.
Andy Hunter in The Guardian explains;
FSG has a clear strategy for Liverpool’s future but it is in no position to bide its time or haggle over fees and wages when talent becomes available. Prevaricating has damaged the club too often in recent years; a point that Rafael Benítez, the former manager who had lined up deals for Nemanja Vidic and Florent Malouda, only to see them join United and Chelsea for larger fees, often used against his employers.
He continues, discussing other targets;
In Henderson, Carroll and Luis Suárez Liverpool are showing other young players that they have a coherent policy of rebuilding and challenging for a return to the Champions League. Losing out on (Phil) Jones and (Ashley)Young will be a setback but Dalglish has alternatives, such as the Birmingham City defender Scott Dann, Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing, Connor Wickham of Ipswich Town and Charlie Adam of Blackpool, and Liverpool’s owners have shown they are prepared to back him.
A Sunderland fan writes to the website Football365, praising Henderson, commenting;
After the World Cup, many of us began to really notice the sheer lack of technical talent in the England set-up. By this, I’m not talking about crossing or shooting ability, I’m talking about close control, quick passing and most importantly of all, tactical awareness. Jordan has these traits in abundance and, far from comparing him to the likes of the great Xavi and Iniesta, his approach to the game is very much as a team member rather than as a maverick. He won’t drive through the middle of the park and smash a last-minute cup final half volley into the corner when he’s got cramp, but what he will do is keep the game ticking over and, when the chance presents itself, show that he knows how to whip in a dangerous cross or play a nicely weighted through ball.
Meanwhile, Rory Smith in The Telegraph takes a look at the next players who could be arriving at Anfield;
Liverpool are determined to conduct the majority of their transfer dealings before their squad reconvene at the club’s Melwood base for the start of pre-season training in early July and the club will waste no time in adding to the signing of Henderson, with Adam and Downing both viewed as priorities.
The Liverpool manager, along with Comolli and the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, are keen to infuse the club’s squad with young, native talent, leading to moves for Henderson, Phil Jones of Blackburn and Ipswich striker Connor Wickham, but exceptions will be made for both Adam, 27, and Downing, 26, as well as Newcastle’s Spanish left back, Jose Enrique, and Roma’s Brazilian goalkeeper Doni.