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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 26, 2006

Pennant completes move to Liverpool

Jermaine Pennant claims it was 'the best moment of my life' when he knew that his dream move to Liverpool was going to happen.

The 23-year-old winger has completed what is believed to be a £6.7million move - rising to over £7million on appearances - from Birmingham and has become boss Rafael Benitez's fifth summer signing.

And the player who made 497 crosses last season - the highest in the Premiership - now cannot wait to see Peter Crouch's giant frame on the end of them.

Pennant said: 'Crouchie is a great target man and of course I'll be looking to make the service into the box as good as possible. I'm sure he's looking forward to it as well.

'I just want to work hard and improve as much as I can to play an important role for the team.'

But the deal has proved controversial among Liverpool fans, who are mindful that Pennant arrives with even more baggage than fellow summer signing Craig Bellamy.

His arrival solves Benitez's search for a right-sided midfielder, with first-choice Daniel Alves of Sevilla proving too pricey at £12million - but in Pennant, Liverpool have bought one of football's most notorious players.

In 2005 the midfielder become the first footballer to play in the Premiership while wearing an electronic tag. He had served 21 days in jail after being found guilty of drink-driving while banned and having no insurance.

Originally Pennant had been banned from driving for 16 months in 2004 after being seen travelling in the wrong lane in Paddington, west London.

Also in 2005 it was reported that Birmingham sent the player home from training after he turned up under the influence of alcohol.

But Pennant knows that this is the chance of a lifetime to reinvent himself, and the fact that he reveals himself as a lifelong Liverpool fan will only endear him to the Anfield public.

Pennant, speaking to the club's official website, www.liverpoolfc.tv, said: 'I always wanted to come to Liverpool. This is the only club I would have wanted to sign for.

'There's always a doubt in your mind as to whether or not it will happen because you don't know if the clubs will agree a transfer fee, but I just stayed positive and believed it would happen for me.

'I'm more than confident my best will come at this club because I am playing alongside top-quality players who will only help me develop my game.

'Over the last couple of years they've done magnificently well and there have been more signings this summer who all look really good.

'Obviously the captain (Steven Gerrard) is there as the central point of the team and there are quality players all around him. I'm looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.'

He added: 'This is the level I believe I belong at. This is the best club in the country and the best club to be at so if I can't do it here then I won't be able to do it anywhere.

'I've still got a long career ahead of me because I'm still young, but hopefully I'll enjoy all my good times here.'

Pennant has had one crack at the big time at Arsenal, but spells on loan at Leeds, Watford and then Birmingham followed.

He said: 'I enjoyed it at Arsenal and learnt a lot at Highbury. I'm grateful for what I got out of my time there, but I didn't feel I was getting a chance and so I moved on. I'm here now so I think everything happens for a reason. I've certainly got no regrets about leaving Arsenal.

'I'm ready for this new challenge at another top club now. I've played a lot of games in the Premiership and am definitely equipped to perform at this level.

'I've come here to be successful and it would be a great feeling if I can win trophies as a Liverpool player.

'And moving to Liverpool will only help me with my England ambitions. Playing with players of the quality at this club can only be good for my career. I couldn't be more excited.'

And not only does Pennant admit to being a Liverpool fanatic, so to are his family.

He said: 'I'm over the moon. I've dreamt about this since I was a little boy so to actually be here and to be able to wear a Liverpool shirt and play at Anfield is a dream come true.

'My family have always supported Liverpool and I grew up watching videos of them on the TV. My grandad and grandma came here in the seventies and I think Liverpool must have caught their eyes. The love of the club has spread through the family ever since.

'I actually got my first Liverpool kit when I was about four years old. John Barnes was my idol when I first started watching Liverpool but then as I got older I loved Robbie Fowler.'

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