Liverpool agree fee with Aston Villa for Stewart Downing

Liverpool have agreed a fee with Aston Villa for the transfer of England winger Stewart Downing.

Downing, 26, will now discuss personal terms and undergo a medical.

Manager Kenny Dalglish told the Reds' official website  : "We have been given permission to speak to the player.

"We will now try to agree personal terms with him, but it will all depend on the medical. It is a work in progress and we will see what happens and keep you informed."

Announcing that the bid had been accepted last night, Villa chief Paul Faulkner said: "We've reached an agreement with Liverpool following an improved offer received on Wednesday and the submission of a transfer request by Downing.

"We believe there are replacements available in the market who can strengthen our squad."

Dalglish plans to cut short his Asian trip to meet Downing on Friday, a tour sponsor said.

Last week, Villa turned down the Reds' opening £15m bid and it was understood that they were refusing to even consider a price for the player.

DID YOU KNOW?

Downing completed more crosses in open play - 135 - than any other player in the Premier League last season. No other player has beaten that amount for any of the last three campaigns.

Downing would become Liverpool's third major midfield signing of the summer following the arrival of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam .

He would also be the second high-profile player to leave Villa Park this summer following Ashley Young's £17m move to Manchester United .

Downing, who has two years left on his contract, was said to be eager to make the move to Anfield particularly since talks on an extended contract at Villa Park had stalled.

New manager Alex McLeish had previously said the former Middlesbrough player was not for sale.

"He had a magnificent season last year and really came to full maturity as a top player. I understand why there are teams interested in him and that is what happens when you play well consistently," McLeish said last week.

"His performances last season were top drawer. That's why he's not for sale. The club don't want to sell him. I spoke to him briefly and I intend speaking to him again when all the lads are back in for training."

Downing began his career at Middlesbrough where he spent eight years before moving to Villa in 2009 for an initial fee of £10m rising to £12m depending on appearances.

He won the first of his 27 England caps in a friendly against the Netherlands in 2005, when he came on as a second-half substitute. He has yet to score for the national side.

Liverpool are currently on a pre-season tour in Asia and opened up with a 4-3 win over Chinese side Guangdong on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, striker Nathan Delfouneso signed a new contract that will keep him at Villa Park until 2014 and chief executive Faulkner said the club would also be looking to add to the squad in the summer.

"We are also working hard to conclude a deal for a goalkeeper who we believe can also strengthen the side," he added.

"As soon as we have dependable, conclusive information to share then we will do so."