The Kops Keen On U21 Jones And Henderson

Liverpool are closing in on a £30million swoop for two of England’s hottest prospects - Blackburn defender Phil Jones and Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson. The Anfield giants increased their initial offer of £13m for Henderson, 20, to £15m and are hopeful Sunderland will compromise on their asking price of £18m.

Liverpool are also ready to make a formal offer to Blackburn for £15m-rated Jones, though they face a battle for him with Arsenal and Tottenham. The moves are part of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish’s strategy of buying top English talent, having signed striker Andy Carroll in January for £35m from Newcastle. The club have also asked about the availability of midfielder Lee Cattermole at the Stadium of Light.

Liverpool’s move for Jones will alert Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who has made it known he wants to build his back four around the 19-year-old. Wenger was prepared to wait a year while signing Jones’s Blackburn team-mate Chris Samba now. That deal is advanced but Liverpool’s move may force Wenger to rethink his plans for Jones, who has impressed in the centre of defence and midfield since making his Premier League debut against Chelsea in March last year. He signed a five-year deal that May and extended it by 12 months in February.

Blackburn would prefer to keep their prize asset and sell Samba but accept that they will not be able to stand in Jones’s way if the right offer comes in.

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