Manchester United and Arsenal have suffered a setback in their alleged pursuit of Winston Reid after it emerged that the West Ham United defender has his heart set on a move to Liverpool.
The 26-year-old has attracted admiring glances from a host of Premier League rivals after entering the final year of his contract at Upton Park.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has so far failed in his attempts to get the New Zealand international to pen a new deal, prompting speculation that the player will leave East London on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Louis van Gaal has been credited with an interest in taking Reid to Old Trafford, with defence now the key area of the Red Devils squad that requires most urgent attention to strengthen.
The Dutch coach faces stiff competition for the West Ham star's services, though, with Arsene Wenger also believed to be keeping tabs on the former Midtjylland star's situation.
However, the Emirates Stadium is not understood to be Reid's favoured destination, with the Daily Express reporting the player in fact wants to link up with Brendan Rodgers at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager has already spent big in an attempt to reinforce his back line, shelling out close to £40 million on central defensive duo Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho over the past 12 months.
But, the Reds have already proved this season that the current crop of stars on Merseyside are not up to the task of successfully juggling the demands of domestic and European football, after failing so far to replicate last season's impressive Premier League form following a return to the Champions League in 2014/15.
Despite Reid's lack of experience playing in Europe's elite club competition, he has been targeted by Rodgers as the man to help shore up Liverpool's somewhat leaky defence, and the Northern Irishman stands a good chance of landing the talented stopper, now it's come to light that Anfield is his preferred choice.
With doubts also surrounding the long-term future of Slovakian stopper Martin Skrtel on Merseyside it remains to be seen whether Reid could make the prospective switch when the transfer window reopens in January; the last opportunity that West Ham will have to negotiate any return on the money paid to sign the player in 2010.