Villa reject Reds’ Downing bid

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has had the England wideman on his wanted

list for a number of months but firmed up his interest on Tuesday

night. The winger fits the young, British profile sought by owners

Fenway Sports Group. Downing, who has two years remaining on his

contract, has grown frustrated at Villa Park following last

season’s disappointing and uncertain campaign. New manager Alex

McLeish said at the end of June that he hoped he would be able to

convince the former Middlesbrough player to stay at Villa. But it

is likely Downing will move on this summer, although Villa are

thought to want a fee closer to £20million to part with

another of their key assets in the wake of Ashley Young’s transfer

to Manchester United. Liverpool have already signed Jordan

Henderson this summer and are chasing Blackpool playmaker Charlie

Adam. However, there have been rumblings regarding their stuttering

transfer business after missing out on Phil Jones to United and

Connor Wickham to Sunderland. As a result, there is likely to be a

determination to complete a deal for Downing, whose pace and

creativity in wide areas are thought to be integral to Liverpool

manager Dalglish’s rebuilding plans.