Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Braced to Lose Henderson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Braced to Lose Henderson

Article excerpt

SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce has admitted defeat in the battle to keep Liverpool-bound midfield star Jordan Henderson, writes MARK DOUGLAS. Although the Reds are yet to meet Sunderland's pounds 20million valuation for the England Under-21 international (left), The Journal understands the Black Cats boss is resigned to losing Henderson - who is keen on a move to Anfield.

Bruce is a reluctant seller and the Academy product's departure will be a dent in his summer rebuilding project but, given the noises being made by Henderson's advisers towards the end of last season, it is not altogether unexpected.

Contingency plans have been in place for a few weeks and, in news that will cheer the Wearsiders' faithful, Bruce has earmarked moves for Wes Brown, Roger Johnson, Darron Gibson and England striker Peter Crouch with the cash raised by Henderson's departure.

Signing three internationals - and highly-regarded centreback Johnson - would be a sizeable fillip, but supporters will no doubt be dismayed to lose another of their crown jewels.

Henderson's departure is set to come just five months after Darren Bent's controversial switch to Aston Villa.

Again though, the player has played his part in paving the way for the move. For while Henderson is diligent and ultra-professional, he is also highly ambitious and his decision to switch agents to the Wasserman Group at the turn of the year raised eyebrows at the Stadium of Light. Although Bruce is away on holiday, the move gathered pace yesterday, with Sunderland determined to extract a big price for Henderson. Liverpool's initial offer of around pounds 13m was dismissed out of hand and Sunderland want nearer pounds 20m for a player with over 70 Premier League appearances.

The Reds believe they can strike a deal for pounds 18m. Having delivered a tenth-place finish, Bruce will be disappointed that he has to essentially start all over again this summer. …

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