Date: 21st August 2012 at 8:59am
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Liverpool have entered the race to sign Manchester City and England winger Adam Johnson but face plenty of competition…

Adam Johnson, 25, is fast becoming one of the Premier League’s most coveted players after Manchester City manger Roberto Mancini admitted he would begrudgingly let the winger move on.

Sunderland were said to be leading the race for Johnson, who has a £10m price tag, yesterday by the Sunderland ECHO. The well-sourced local publication indicated the Black Cats were pulling out all the stops to secure the signing but faced competition from up to five other Premier League clubs.

One of those other interested sides is believed to be Liverpool and today the Belfast Telegraph are reporting that the Reds have moved into pole position after Brendan Rodgers was told the funds were available to pursue Johnson.

Previously it had been felt the new Kop boss had to sell before he could buy again after spending upwards of £30m on recent captures Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi.

Speculation surrounding the former Middlesborough wide man has gathered pace after quotes by Mancini in the aftermath of City’s 3-2 win over Southampton on Sunday confirmed Johnson was available for transfer.

“Adam can have a future here but you should also understand when you are 23 or 24 years old, you want to play,” said Mancini.

“If you are at a top team, you can’t always do that, so I agree, if he wants to, he has to leave.

“But if that happens I will be so sorry because Adam is a good guy.

“He is a different player to the other strikers and wingers and maybe he could be important for us.”

Despite starting England’s victory over Italy last week, his 12th cap, Johnson did not even make the bench for the reigning champions’ opening Premier League fixture.

The lack of regular football at the Etihad Stadium last season contributed to Johnson missing out on selection for Roy Hodgson’s European Championships squad this summer and the player has previously expressed his frustration at the situation.

“I’m the kind of player that needs to be playing regularly,” he said. “Any player does, really, no matter what age they are. I need to play week-in week-out. You can’t just go into one game after not having played for five, and be expected to perform.

“It would be nice to get a run of games with England but I’m not sure if I’ll get that chance at City.”

Various reports around the media suggest Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Newcastle United are rivalling Sunderland and Liverpool for the signing of Johnson.

Vital Verdict
Johnson could be an ideal signing for Liverpool. The squad currently lacks attacking width, apart from the inconsistent Stewart Downing and raw talent of Raheem Sterling. Also the side has long struggled for a consistent source of goals and Johnson gets more than his fair share from midfield. Considering his age and talent etc £10m also seems a very reasonable fee.

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