Liverpool & Arsenal in transfer battle over Saints striker

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Arsenal are set to challenge Liverpool in the battle to sign Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez, according to reports.

The Sunday Mirror claims Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has set his sights on the recent England call-up as a replacement for Luis Suarez - should the Uruguayan leave for pastures new.

However, Gunners chief Arsene Wenger has also taken a keen interest in the 24-year-old, according to the paper, after the club's scouts highlighted the player as someone who could bolster the ranks at the Emirates Stadium in attack.

Rodriguez joined Southampton from Burnley last summer, and is contracted to St. Mary's until 2016.

His form this season under Mauricio Pochettino has subsequently led to international recognition, and the Saints will not want to lose the player to a Premier League rival.

However, both interested parties have the funds and history to make it difficult for the south-coast club, who have enjoyed a fantastic start to the current campaign.

Liverpool aren't short of options in attack, with Suarez and Daniel Sturridge forming a lethal combination on Merseyside. Iago Aspas is next in-line, whilst a handful of forwards are away from the club on loan.

If Suarez were to leave the Reds though, then a hole would need to be filled in attack at Anfield.

Whilst Rodriguez is in great form, it's unlikely that the Liverpool fans would be thrilled with his arrival - especially as a 'replacement' for the prolific Suarez.

Arsenal have fewer option up-front, with Olivier Giroud the main man in north London. Indeed, the Frenchman is enjoying a fine season, thriving off the service from the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil.

The Gunners lack depth however, with Nicklas Bendtner next in-line for Wenger and little else after that.

Rodriguez would certainly provide Arsenal with something else, plus additional versatility with his ability to play out wide. Again though, the fact that he's not a big name may disappoint supporters in north London.

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