Manchester City have entered the race to sign Liverpool left-back target Leighton Baines according to the Daily Mirror.
The 26-year-old Everton defender has attracted the attention of a number of potential suitors after a series of fine displays at Goodison Park this season.
Citizens boss Roberto Mancini has earmarked Baines as the first of a long list of summer signings as he looks to strengthen the left side of his Eastlands squad.
Aleksandr Kolarov has failed to make a significant impact since his £16million move to Manchester City last summer, and with German international defender Jerome Boateng linked with a return to the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, Mancini will be short on defensive options.
Wayne Bridge will return to Eastlands at the end of the season after completing a loan spell with West Ham, but his long-term Manchester City future remains in doubt, having been linked with the exit door this summer.
The Citizens' riches means that the club are well placed to make a non-negotiable offer to Everton, who find themselves in a precarious financial situation with debts in the region of £40million.
A figure of £25million has been touted as the lump sum required for preliminary talks between the two parties to begin.
Liverpool have also long been linked with Baines, as Reds boss Kenny Dalglish steps up his search for a left-sided defender to bring to Anfield when the transfer window reopens in June.
Director of Football Damien Comolli has reportedly ran the rule over numerous defensive targets including Jose Enrique and Gael Clichy, but it is now believed that Baines is Liverpool's preferred choice of the three existing Barclays Premier League stars.
The Liverpool-born defender is understood to be keen to stay in his native north-west, and is in no way pushing for a move.
However, Baines would be attracted by the prospect of playing Champions League football and so would favour a move to Manchester City over Liverpool, which would see him link up with the latest emerging force within the English game.