Liverpool tipped to beat Arsenal and United to '£25 million' Premier League ace

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Liverpool are being backed to make a move for Bolton defender Gary Cahill in January.

According to The Guardian, the Reds are monitoring the 24-year-old England international - who has been consistently linked with a move away from the Reebok in recent weeks - with a view to making a bid in the New Year.

Arsenal had originally been expected to do battle with Manchester United for the services of Cahill, who is thought to have caught the eye of both Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson with a string of imperious displays for the Trotters.

But Liverpool are now apparently the frontrunners for his signature as Roy Hodgson looks to bolster his defence following the long-term layoff of Anfield hero Jamie Carragher.

The 33-year-old will be sidelined for three months after dislocating his shoulder as Liverpool lost to Spurs on Sunday, and Cahill has allegedly been identified as a potential replacement for the future.

Liverpool are worryingly short of experienced centre-backs currently - with Daniel Agger also a fitness concern - so Hodgson is believed to be in the market for at least one more stopper.

Frenchman Adil Rami and Birmingham centre-half Scott Dann are also reportedly on the Liverpool radar as Hodgson and NESV look to draft in reinforcements to Anfield next month.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Arsenal will launch a £10 million bid for the Liverpool and Manchester United target, but Bolton manager Owen Coyle has slapped a £25 million price-tag on his prized asset.

"There has never been any dialogue with me or any manager from another club about Gary Cahill this summer," he said.

“Gary Cahill is a player I want at this football club for a long time to come. If someone comes in with £25 million, any football club would have to look at that.

“I said that in April when he came back from injury and that’s where we are now. If that ever comes about the football club will look at it, but that’s not happening.

“I want him here. I want him to continue his development and I want to get him playing at a level where he’s in the England squad.”

Wenger is understood to be keen to bolster his Arsenal backline, and signing a player of Cahill's promise would prove to Gunners fans he is ready to invest heavily in his squad.

Arsenal have had their fair share of defensive woes in recent times, with the long-term injury of Thomas Vermaelen coinciding with the departure of three centre-backs from the Emirates.

However, Wenger did bring French pair Laurent Koscielny and Sébastien Squillaci to Arsenal in the summer to try to compensate for Vermaelen's injury, but his squad still lacks depth in the defensive department.

Although Manchester United have more defensive reinforcements than Arsenal, Ferguson is looking to build a squad for the future and is thought to have earmarked Cahill to one day fill the boots of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

United also have talented youngsters Johnny Evans and Chris Smalling on their books, and Cahill would only add to their impressive defensive depth.

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