Anfield boss ready for busy summer of spending.
Liverpool’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, is increasingly confident of following the imminent appointment of Kenny Dalglish as the club’s permanent manager by beating Manchester United to the signature of the Aston Villa forward Ashley Young.
Dalglish’s confirmation as the long-term successor to Roy Hodgson is a formality having taken the club from 12th in the Premier League to the brink of European qualification inside four months and is expected to be announced before the end of the season.
Several FSG officials, notably the principal owner, John W Henry, and Liverpool’s chairman, Tom Werner, have voiced their support for the 60-year-old Scot and backed him on the combined £57.8m purchases of Andy Carroll and Luis Suárez in January. They are now pursuing Young, another target of Dalglish and the director of football, Damien Comolli, and have emerged as favourites to sign the £15m-rated England international despite competition from United, the Premier League champions-elect.
Young enters the final year of his Villa contract this summer having rejected the offer of an improved deal, which contained a get-out clause in the region of £15m, at the start of this season. United and Liverpool are vying for Young’s services but the prospect of a significant increase on his £65,000-a-week Villa salary at Anfield, plus more regular first-team football than he may receive at Old Trafford, is understood to have tilted the contest in Dalglish’s favour.
Young forms part of an ambitious spending programme planned by FSG for this summer, an added appeal for a player who has established himself in the England set-up, with Blackpool’s Charlie Adam still on Liverpool’s agenda following a thwarted move in January and a new central defender among the targets. Bolton’s Gary Cahill and Phil Jones of Blackburn are under consideration.
It appears that it will only be a matter of time before Kenny Dalglish is handed a long term deal after the excellent job the Liverpool hero has done since taking over from Roy Hodgson and clearly Fenway Sports Group are happy to hand the manager a large transfer fund war-chest and prime target number one is reportedly Aston Villa winger Ashley Young.
This source appears to believe that the Merseyside club have the edge over Man United in the chase for the 25 year old England international and there is no denying that Liverpool could do with a natural winger or two to help provide the ammunition for Messrs Suarez and Carroll, they are also linked with moves for fellow Villa winger Stewart Downing, but are unlikely to persuade the Midlands side to sell both.
Liverpool are now favourites to land fifth spot and a Europa League spot and Dalglish has intimated that qualification for Europe would help give a further financial boost to the club that would also in turn increase the amount made available to him this summer.
Charlie Adam also seems a much sought after target but Tottenham are also said to be keen on the Scottish playmaker. Centre backs Gary Cahill and Phil Jones are similarly in demand but the up turn in form at Liverpool and the solid financial grounding the club has will surely help in their efforts to land quality players as Dalglish, assistant Steve Clarke and director of football Damien Comolli plan for the future.