Liverpool foiled with initial £15m bid

Liverpool have failed in a bid to sign Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing. The England international fits the criteria set out by new owners Fenway Sports Group as a young, homegrown player and the Anfield club are believed to be long time admirers of the former Middlesbrough midfielder.

Sky Sports indicate that the initial bid is in the £15 million region, but has been promptly rejected by new Villa boss Alex McLeish, who is keen for the 26-year-old to remain in Birmingham. The ex-Rangers manager has already seen the sale of Ashley Young to Manchester United, and is reluctant to let another one of his best players leave the club.

The Merseyside outfit are expected to come back with an improved offer, with a fee of around £20 million needed to prize the England international away from Villa Park. Downing is believed to be interested in a move given the disappointing 2010/11 season.

Liverpool’s transfer progress has hit a stumbling block in recent weeks, as after signing Jordan Henderson a number of subsequent deals have failed to materialise, including a move to bring Blackpool’s Charlie Adam to the club.