Liverpool and Arsenal have been put on red alert over Stewart Downing, according to reports.
The England international winger has told Aston Villa he wants to play Champions League football next season, according to the Daily Star, and will not be signing a new contract at Villa Park.
“I am 26 and at a major crossroads in my career, so I won’t be committing to a new deal at the moment. The most important thing to me is to play football but I would like to play Champions League football at some point,” said Downing.
Arsene Wenger and Kenny Dalglish are now thought to be considering offers for the £15 million-rated former Middlesbrough left-footer, although Manchester United have also been linked with a move in recent months.
Reports in The Daily Telegraph claim Liverpool are at the head of the queue to sign the player in the summer transfer window, although Arsenal are also thought to be willing to meet the reported fee.
Liverpool have been linked with a plethora of wingers in recent weeks, with Sylvain Marveaux, Eden Hazard and Ashley Young all speculatively place on the Merseysiders' radar.
Damien Comolli, director of football at Anfield, has been working alongside Dalglish to pull together a transfer wish list at Liverpool, with a winger, left back and striker all expected to join the Reds after July 1st.
Arsenal have also been linked with a number of players in a handful of positions, with a goalkeeper and striker thought to be the biggest priority at the Emirates.
However, Wenger has admitted he expects to be active when the window re-opens, and Downing's Champions League admission could lead to Arsenal following up their interest with a bid.
Whilst Liverpool are unable to currently offer the 26-year-old a place in Europe's top club competition, their improvement under Dalglish suggests they could challenge again next season and will hope to keep the player out of the clutches of Arsenal.
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