LIVERPOOL have put a valuation of £3million on the head of surplus striker David Ngog.
The French forward’s future remains up in the air at Anfield after the Reds made it clear privately that they were happy for Sunderland to talk to him.
But if he does not leave for Wearside in the next few days, it seems certain that manager Kenny Dalglish will move to offload the French Under-21 international forward before the new season begins.
Dalglish is looking to completely reshape his squad, returning them to their traditional basis of success – which was acquiring the best of Britain’s home-grown talent and supplementing that with proven stars from abroad.
The £20m move for Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson is part of that process and Ngog is already regarded on Merseyside as a relic of former manager Rafael Benitez’s failed policy of bringing in a host of potential stars from abroad who struggled to justify the hype which proceed their signatures.
Ngog though – while falling short of the quality needed for an aspiring top-four outfit – is not someone who should be written off too quickly in terms of his ability.
At 22, he is young enough to improve and combines both pace and power – being well over 6ft tall and lightning quick.
His goals record for club and for country is not overly impressive, but most of his time at Liverpool has been spent as an impact player coming off the bench.
And while he might be given that role at whatever club he subsequently joins, there’s an argument that the best of him will only be seen if he moves away from Anfield and gets the chance of a regular starting place in his new side.
Certainly, he might prove to be a decent foil for Asamoah Gyan, who Sunderland boss Steve Bruce noted last season might benefit from a tall and physical striker to play alongside him.
Sunderland are in pole position when it comes to signing the forward, having already been involved in talks with Liverpool over the Henderson deal and having been made aware that the Ngog move could be tied in with it if that suited the Black Cats.
Reports of a £6m, £7m or even £8m valuation for the striker would have made it a no-go for Sunderland, but £3m is a reasonable fee given Ngog’s pedigree and experience.
While the completion of the Henderson deal is expected to be announced in the next 24 hours though, the Ngog talks could well drag on into the weekend and beyond.