Liverpool have moved ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign Swansea City centre-back Ashley Williams despite a £9million Gunners bid being left on the table.
According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did everything he could to sign the 28-year-old in the January transfer window but his offer was turned down by the Welsh club.
The report claims this offer is still open and the Emirates Stadium club will renew efforts to sign Williams in the summer.
However, it also claims that the Wales captain is a boyhood Liverpool fan and idolised boss legend John Barnes as a boy.
Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers will, according to the report, use this allegiance to give his side the edge in any negotiations.
Williams also played under Rodgers at Swansea last season, so there is familiarity between them, which could help push a deal through.
Liverpool need to make additions in the centre of defence as veteran Jaime Carragher has confirmed his retirement at the end of this season.
The report also claims Liverpool have doubts over the future of Martin Skrtel and will try to sign another defender whether they land Williams or not.
Meanwhile, Arsenal could also have a shortage in central defence next season as French flop Sebastien Squillaci’s contract expires and Johan Djourou has voiced a desire to make his loan move to Hannover permanent.
That would leave Wenger with just three options in central defence with Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen the only senior options.