Liverpool appear 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.
Benitez is now likely to sell Italian full-back Andrea Dossena to help fund the deal. Fellow defender Alvaro Arbeloa could also be sacrificed to raise cash towards the Johnson deal, with Real Madrid being linked with an £8m move for the Spaniard.
Johnson, who joined Portsmouth from Chelsea in a £4m deal two years ago, emerged as Benitez’s prime target after having an impressive season for Pompey.
Johnson signed a new four-year deal at Portsmouth in January, but club officials privately accepted they could not stand in his way if he was offered the opportunity to move a club playing in the Champions League.