Liverpool FC News

Liverpool make £8m bid for 'next Shearer'

Liverpool make £8m bid for 'next Shearer'

Liverpool have demonstrated their determination to invest heavily in young talent to take them back among the Champions League elite with an £8m offer for Ipswich Town's Connor Wickham, one of the brightest prospects in the English game.

Ipswich have rejected the bid and want £10m but since Liverpool were willing to pay that sum in January, Kenny Dalglish is confident that they can secure the services of the 18-year-old striker, who forced himself on to the international stage last summer when he steered England Under-17s to the European Championship title.

Liverpool's plans to sign Wickham had to be ditched in January amid the frenzy created by Fernando Torres's declaration that he was intent on leaving for Chelsea, and the pursuit of Andy Carroll. At the time, Liverpool were ahead of Tottenham, who were not close to the £15m asking price with which Ipswich began the bidding. Spurs had initially bid £5m, with a view to loaning Wickham back to Portman Road. Ars√®ne Wenger is also said to be an admirer of Wickham, who was a guest at the Emirates for Arsenal's 2-1 Champions League defeat of Barcelona in February.

The pursuit of Wickham, who is seen by some scouts as the best traditional England centre-forward since Alan Shearer, contributes to the sense that Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, are ready to invest heavily. They consider investment in young players with potential resale value to represent good business, but were aghast at the wage bill they inherited. Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic will need to be offloaded this summer.

In January, Wickham agreed a two-year extension on his Ipswich contract to run to 2013, though in April that was replaced with a fresh deal which expires in 2014. It is understood the new contract includes an escape clause of £15m for the 6ft 3in player, who scored the winning goal against Spain in last year's Under-17s final.

Liverpool's determination to invest in youth has seen the club add Sunderland's Jordan Henderson to their list of targets, though that potential acquisition is understood still to be at the informal inquiry stage. Sunderland expect Anfield's interest to develop into a firm bid. The midfielder is in Stuart Pearce's squad for the European Under-21 Championship in Denmark and his future is unlikely to be resolved before that competition is over.

Liverpool are also still pursuing Aston Villa's Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.