Liverpool to step up chase for Charlie Adam & expect to fend off late interest from Aston Villa in Blackpool midfielder

Reds' director of football Damien Comolli set for talks with the Tangerines this weekend & Anfield club are clear favourites to seal £10m deal despite McLeish's interest in Scot
By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Liverpool are ready to step up their attempts to sign Blackpool captain Charlie Adam in the coming days and are confident of beating off competition from Aston Villa.

Adam is one of Liverpool's top targets for the summer transfer window and director of football Damien Comolli is planning talks with Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston over the weekend.

The Reds want to pay £9 million for the central midfielder but could be forced to up their bid to £10m due to interest from new Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish.

McLeish gave Adam his Rangers debut in 2003 and wants to add his fellow Scot to the Villa squad following the sale of Ashley Young to Manchester United.

United have themselves been monitoring Adam's situation, as have Everton, but it now looks like a straight battle between Liverpool and Villa for the playmaker's signature.

Liverpool are firm favourites to land Adam and Anfield is believed to be the 25-year-old's preferred destination.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish failed with an £8m bid for Adam in January but has maintained his interest as he makes major changes at Anfield to target a top-four finish next season.

The Tangerines resisted offers in January as they sought to retain their Premier League status but are resigned to Adam's departure this summer following their relegation to the Championship.

Blackpool triggered a 12-month extension to Adam's contract in May but accept they will have to sell their star man, who cost just £500,000 when he arrived from Rangers in 2009.

Adam would become Liverpool's second signing of the summer following the arrival of England Under-21 international Jordan Henderson from Sunderland in a £16m deal.

The Reds are also looking to add two wingers to the squad, with Aston Villa star Stewart Downing their leading target despite the Midlands club's £20m valuation of the former Middlesbrough man.

Liverpool value the 26-year-old at around £15m and are confident of landing Downing, who is disillusioned at Villa Park and desperate to join the club, and reportedly set to hand in a transfer request to force through the move.

Nevertheless, Liverpool sources have told they expect a stand-off with Villa over the price as owners Fenway Sports Group have established a reputation of eventually meeting other clubs' demands.

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