Manchester City are reportedly ready to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool in pursuit of Ashley Young.
The Aston Villa winger was tipped to exit the club in January after Liverpool registered their interest, but Villa weren't ready to let the 25-year-old leave.
However, it has now been reported that Gerard Houllier will be prepared to cash-in on the England international in the summer as he stalls over a new deal - with Liverpool and City ready to pounce.
“They didn’t want it to look like they needed to sell Young [in January] to afford [Darren] Bent and only crazy money would have forced them to sell,” a source told Goal.com.
“But they know Young wants to leave and they know they will have to cash in on him in the summer or he will be able to go on a free the following year.”
Should this be the case, Liverpool will no doubt be alerted to the potential availability of the £18 million-rated attacker and are expected to reignite their interest in the summer.
During the January transfer window, Liverpool director of football strategy, Damien Comolli, admitted that it was his intention to bring Young to Anfield but only when Villa were prepared to sell.
"For Young, if he is on the market then we will be interested," he said. “But I don't believe that is the case.”
Although they will reportedly have to fight off City for Young, Liverpool are thought to remain confident they can seal a deal after demonstrating their own sizeable financial clout on deadline day.
Liverpool owners New England Sports Ventures splashed out a whopping £53 million combined on strike duo Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez and were willing to spend even more to reinforce their squad.
"It just shows their desire to move the club forward," said Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, at the unveiling of Suarez and Carroll.
"They said when they came in they wanted to take the club back to where it should be. This was their first opportunity to show that. They are actually a bit disappointed we didn't get more players in. That's a good thing."
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