Liverpool in shock link to £8 million defender

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Liverpool are being linked with a shock January move for Middlebrough defender David Wheater.

The Championship centre back has previously been linked with Premier League clubs, but club chairman Steve Gibson has constantly resisted selling Boro's prize asset. However, interest from Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson could force the club to cash-in on the player.

Wheater graduated through the club's academy to become one of the top players at the Riverside, learning his trade during three loan spells before becoming a regular in the north east.

Tipped to leave the club after Premier League relegation back in 2008-09, Wheater decided to stay in a bid to help Middlesbrough return to the top flight of English football.

After last season's failed attempt and a change of management at the club, Liverpool are thought to be in a position to make an offer the player can't refuse.

Hodgson has courted the player in the past, making an offer during his time as manager at Fulham. A versatile defender, the 23-year-old could play in a central or full back position for Liverpool.

The Reds have been promised money to spend by new owners NESV, with Hodgson set to have around £35 million at his Anfield disposal in 2011.

'Five or six' players are thought to be on the agenda, with Liverpool looking to add strength-in-depth in a number of core positions.

The Metro reports that Liverpool are considering a bid for the player, with West Ham, Stoke and Everton also thought to be keen on the player.

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