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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

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Liverpool close to securing Adam deal

Liverpool are expecting to clinch a deal for Charlie Adam this weekend, unless Aston Villa delay proceedings by turning negotiations into a bidding war.

Damien Comolli, the Reds' director of football, will press ahead over the next 48 hours in an attempt to add Adam to the recent capture of Jordan Henderson. A meeting with Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston is booked, and Liverpool hope to conclude an £8 million transfer.

Oyston revealed 11 days ago that he had held initial talks with the Anfield club, saying in The Gazette: "We've had a few very preliminary discussions and enquiries but nothing of any substance."

Liverpool first lodged an £8 million bid in January, only to find the Tangerines holding out for £12 million. Oyston had hoped Adam would keep his club in the Premier League, but now he is left on weaker ground to barter, with the Scotland international desperate to stay in England's top flight.

The most likely scenario to scupper Liverpool's plans would be a last-ditch hijack attempt from Aston Villa, whose new boss Alex McLeish used to work with Adam at Rangers. Blackpool would hope a rival bid would drive up Liverpool's offer, which is expected to start as low as £6.5 million.

Adam is one of a handful of players wanted by Kenny Dalglish, who also has Comolli negotiating for Ipswich's Connor Wickham, Arsenal's Gael Clichy, and Aston Villa's Stewart Downing. The Reds are already believed to have had offers of £5 million and £12 million rejected for Clichy and Downing respectively.

Adam's arrival would create an overstaffing of midfielders at Anfield, where Alberto Aquilani has returned after Juventus cooled interest in a £14 million deal. Portugal international Raul Meireles has also been linked to the Turin club, but no formal movements have materialised.

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