Reds eye up England international after missing out on prime targets.
Liverpool could be set to make a surprise bid to Sunderland for former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson, CaughtOffside understands.
The 26-year-old is seen as a decent option on the flanks for Liverpool after the sale of Stewart Downing to West Ham and Oussama Assaidi’s season-long loan move to Stoke City.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has been keen to add quality in the wide areas for much of this summer, but has so far missed out on the likes of Willian and Scott Sinclair, whilst seemingly not making any progress in the chase for Porto’s Christian Atsu.
After successfully reviving Daniel Sturridge’s career since signing him from Chelsea in January, Rodgers is confident that he can help Johnson regain the fine form he showed at points during his Manchester City career, which saw him become an England regular.
The former Middlesbrough youngster joined City in 2010 as one of the brightest prospects in the country, and seemed to adapt quickly to life in the Premier League, looking a lively and exciting player and fitting in well among the many big-money signings made by City during this period.
However, with former City manager Roberto Mancini continuing to splash the cash, Johnson’s place in the side became increasingly under threat, and a slight dip in performances saw him moved on to Sunderland last summer for around £10million.
Although Johnson is one of the most naturally gifted English players, he has continued to struggle to reach his best form in a Sunderland side that fought against relegation for much of last season, and although better things are expected of them this time round under new manager Paolo Di Canio, the Stadium of Light is arguably not the best stage for the winger to display his true potential.
Liverpool are expected to try their luck with an offer of £11million, and may bid higher if Sunderland are reluctant to sell. With much of Liverpool’s game under Rodgers based around skillful and technical players, Johnson could prove a useful addition to their squad as they look to mount a strong challenge for a top four place this year.
Some Liverpool fans may worry that the signing of Johnson could be an echo of the club’s recent failure in bringing in English talent, with the likes of big signings Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson all failing to cope with making the move to Anfield.
However, Johnson’s ability to play right or left should give him plenty of opportunities to impress, and this could be the ideal move for him to get back to his best and put himself back in contention for an England place ahead of next summer’s World Cup.