Liverpool poised to sign Johnson
By Phil McNulty
Johnson is set to quit Pompey for Anfield
Liverpool look to have won the race to sign England defender Glen Johnson after agreeing a fee in the region of £17m with Portsmouth.
Reds’ boss Rafael Benitez is confident he has beaten off interest from Chelsea in the 24-year-old and expects to make him his first summer signing.
Manchester City had also registered an interest in Johnson, but it is believed Anfield is his preferred destination.
Benitez is now likely to sell Andrea Dossena to help fund the deal.
Johnson, who joined Portsmouth from Chelsea in a £4m deal two years ago, emerged as Benitez’s prime target after having an outstanding season at Fratton Park last season.
Benitez is working within financial restrictions in the transfer market this summer, but it is understood Liverpool are still owed money from the deal that took Peter Crouch to Portsmouth last summer.
Spanish defender Alvaro Arbeloa could also be sacrificed to raise cash towards the Johnson deal, with Real Madrid being linked with an £8m move.
He has cemented a place as England’s first-choice right-back under coach Fabio Capello and played in the two recent World Cup qualifying victories against Kazakhstan and Andorra.
Johnson signed a new four-year deal at Portsmouth in January, but club officials accepted they could not stand in his way if he was offered the opportunity to move a club playing in the Champions League.