Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has identified Micah Richards as a talent capable of adding strength in depth to his defensive options next season and is ready to offer Manchester City £7m for a star deemed surplus to requirements at the Etihad, according to the Daily Star.
Richards featured just three times in the Premier League last season thanks to a combination of injury and Pablo Zabaleta's continued brilliance for City at full-back, which when combined with City's swoop for Bacary Sagna means the England international needs to find a new club this summer.
Arsenal are monitoring the situation closely as they look to find Sagna's long-term replacement, but they now have fierce competition for his signature as Liverpool continue their bid to build a squad capable of coping with Champions League football.
The Reds have already completed the signings of Rickie Lambert and Emre Can and Rodgers has made Richards his next target, in an effort to shore up a defence which conceded 50 goals in the Premier League and undermined a wonderful title tilt that very nearly proved successful.
Liverpool want genuine competition for places in all positions and Richards is part of that plan, although it remains to be seen if City will sell to a direct title rival.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini is not against the idea of keeping Richards, although he has less than 12 months left on his current contract and has reason to be concerned a promising career will continue to stagnate without a fresh challenge.
Both Rodgers and Arsene Wenger hope they can help Richards find the form which saw him burst onto the scene as a teenager and he has all the raw attributes to do just that, possessing pace, raw power and the versatility to play anywhere across the back four.
At £7m the deal could represent genuine value for money, but injury-hit recent campaigns must be a concern.
Richards has only managed 30 Premier League appearances in a single season on one occasion, and played just nine times in the last two campaigns combined.
For that reason the 25-year-old has fallen off the radar at a time when he should be representing England at the World Cup if in peak form, but a move to either Anfield at the Emirates looks the perfect opportunity to reignite his international ambitions.
Arsenal have Richards on a shortlist of right-back targets which also includes Ivory Coast prodigy Serge Aurier though, which puts Liverpool in pole position to complete their third deal of a pro-active transfer window.