Liverpool are reportedly considering a surprise summer move for Arsenal target Gary Cahill.
The Bolton defender has long been on the radar of the north Londoners but, according to the News of the World, Liverpool are ready to rival them for his signature.
Arsenal have been linked with the 25-year-old for a number of months and – with Arsene Wenger growing increasingly frustrated with his injury-prone defence – the Gunners are understood to have been keeping tabs on the England international.
Wenger, however, remained coy over his interest in Cahill when questioned last week.
"At the moment, I cannot come out with any name," said the Arsenal boss - as reported by skysports.com.
"I think Gary Cahill is a very good player, but I cannot tell you more.
"We like to keep our transfer negotiations always very secret, because it puts more pressure on when you go public so you would understand we don't want to speak publicly about that."
Liverpool are now hoping that Arsenal fail to secure a January deal for Cahill – reports the News of the World – so they can line up a bid when the transfer window reopens in June.
It appears that this will not presently be a worry for Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish – who is reportedly a long-term admirer of the centre-back – as Arsenal are unlikely to spend big this month but instead dip into the loan market.
However, should Liverpool or Arsenal step up their reported interest, then they are expected to have to part with a hefty sum after Bolton boss Owen Coyle slapped an astronomical valuation on the head of his prized asset.
Coyle 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."
Both Liverpool and Arsenal are believed to see Cahill as a long-term investment but are only likely to offer a more realistic £10 million for his services.
Manchester United are also expected to join Arsenal and Liverpool in the race to land Cahill in the
summer, in what could be a fascinating fight between three of the Premier League’s leading lights.