Rafael Benitez set to rekindle interest in Alvaro Arbeloa

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Rafael Benitez looks set to rekindle his long-standing interest in Alvaro Arbeloa, the Real Madrid defender who has been linked with three different Premier League title contenders in recent days. 

Reports that surfaced towards the end of last week credited Chelsea, Arsenal and former club Liverpool with an interest in Arbeloa, who has been replaced by compatriot Dani Carvajal as first-choice right-back at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Now it appears that yet another club have joined the race for the 31-year-old's signature, with talkSPORT claiming that Benitez and Napoli are once again interested in taking £4.5 million-rated Arbeloa to Stadio San Paolo.

Arbeloa and Benitez have history, of course, with the two having worked together at Real Zaragoza and the latter having brought the player to Anfield from Deportivo la Coruna back in 2007.

The Spanish international and World Cup winner spent two years on Merseyside before returning to his homeland to represent Real Madrid - the club where he had spent his formative years - ahead of the 2009/10 campaign.

Having previously been a first-choice option for most of his time in La Liga, Arbeloa made just 18 domestic appearances under Carlo Ancelotti last season, with the impressive and ambitious Carvajal quickly establishing his authority following his own return to the club from German outfit Bayer Leverkusen.

Watch: The latest Arsenal transfer news

Significant English competition

Given Benitez and Arbeloa's history, Napoli's interest obviously represents a real threat to the English clubs hoping to sign him this summer, although Liverpool - whose current first-choice right-back Jose Enrique was plagued by a knee problem last season - may hold a similar advantage.

Brendan Rodgers is obviously eager to improve Liverpool's defensive options across the board during the current transfer window, with Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren having already arrived from Southampton and the club also reportedly edging closer to deals for Alberto Moreno of Sevilla and Atletico Madrid youngster Javi Manquillo.

Arsenal's apparent pursuit of Arbeloa has to be considered thoroughly curious and frankly unnecessary given the purchases Arsene Wenger has made in recent weeks in the form of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers.

The departure of Bacary Sagna to title rivals Manchester City will inevitably leave Arsenal slightly weaker at right-back, but that aforementioned duo should be perfectly capable of filling the void.

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Mourinho ties

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has also worked with Arbeloa, with the Portuguese having spent three eventful years in charge at Real between 2010-13.

However, much like old adversary Wenger, Mourinho also doesn't appear to have much need for a new right-back at present.

With established English duo John Terry and Gary Cahill set to continue as the club's first-choice centre-back pairing, Branislav Ivanovic is likely to compete with Cesar Azpilicueta for a starting berth this season, with Filipe Luis drafted in on the left of the back four.

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Alvaro Arbeloa
Real Madrid

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