Liverpool are ready to make an audacious attempt to sign Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, with the Daily Mail reporting that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers wants to persuade the Belgian international that his reputation can be restored at Anfield rather than with Manchester United or Barcelona.
Vermaelen's future has been a source of persistent speculation over the last two months, thanks to a loss of form with Arsenal over the last 18 months magnified by injury problems and the strong partnership built by Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in central defence.
Rodgers ready to rival Van Gaal
With less than 12 months left on his Arsenal contract Vermaelen looks all set to move on this summer, but where the 28-year-old will play next season remains very much in question.
New United manager Louis van Gaal is a huge fan of the former Ajax star and views his versatility as a major attribute he can take full advantage of at Old Trafford next term, although talks over a £12m deal have stalled and allowed Liverpool to believe they are still in with a shout of signing a proven Premier League performer.
Case for the defence
Reds chief Rodgers has shown he's not afraid to spend big this summer and has already shelled out major money for the likes of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, but centre-back is one area that definitely still needs strengthening ahead of a Champions League push next season.
Southampton stopper Dejan Lovren has been the primary focus of Liverpool's attempts to sign a new linchpin in that position for a lofty £20m, but Vermaelen would definitely be cheaper and potentially capable of forming a more solid base to a side which conceded a whopping 50 goals in the Premier League last season.
With Arsenal looking at Callum Chambers and Matija Nastasic there is a clear path for Vermaelen to move on in search of a fresh challenge before the new season begins, but it will be fascinating to see who wins a race for his signature which now includes Liverpool.