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Liverpool to Discuss Terms With Downing After Agreeing on Fee

Liverpool will open contract talks with Stewart Downing after agreeing on a fee with Premier League soccer rival Aston Villa for the transfer of the England winger.

Liverpool, which had two previous bids rejected for the 26-year-old, said it had been given permission to discuss personal terms with Downing and arrange a medical.

The fee wasn’t disclosed in a two-sentence statement on Liverpool’s website last night. The Reds will pay 20 million pounds ($32.3 million) for Downing, the Independent reported.

“We have reached an agreement with Liverpool following an improved offer and the submission of a formal transfer request by Stewart,” Villa Chief Executive Officer Paul Faulkner said on his club’s website.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has added midfielders Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam since the team finished sixth in the Premier League last season.

Adam made his Liverpool debut off the substitutes’ bench yesterday as the club opened its tour of Asia with a 4-3 victory over Chinese second-tier team Guangdong Sunray Cave.

The left-footed Downing, who’s played 27 times for the England national team, completed a division-best 135 crosses in open play last season, according to the British Broadcasting Corp. He was voted Villa’s best player of the 2010-11 campaign by supporters and teammates.

Should he join Liverpool, Downing would become the second England international to leave Villa in four weeks after Ashley Young moved to Manchester United.

Villa is trying to bring in replacements and is also in talks to sign a goalkeeper, Faulkner said.

“There are replacements available in the market who can strengthen our squad ahead of the coming season, and we are in discussions as such,” he said.

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