Manchester City are reportedly set to make a £17million move for Javier Mascherano.
The Liverpool midfielder's long-term future remains uncertain as the Reds continue to stall over making his deal permanent and according to Wednesday's papers, City are now in the picture.
Rafa Benitez is reportedly urging Liverpool's American owners to make funds available to keep the Argentina international but with no offer on the table, the door is now open for the Eastlands outfit to make a bold approach.
The Daily Star claims a meeting took place between one of Mascherano's advisors and a close associate of City owner Thaksin Shinawatra last week.
Mascherano is owned by a consortium headed by Kia Joorabchian and the deal which took him from West Ham to Liverpool is due to run out at the end of the season - at which point the Daily Star claims Liverpool would have to cough up £17m to keep him at the club.
But City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has pinpointed the 23-year-old as one of his primary targets and the Eastlands outfit could even attempt to conclude a deal which would see him complete his move in the January transfer window.
According to The Independent Mascherano is also wanted in Italy, although he is thought to prefer a switch to Barcelona in Spain if he does leave the Premier League.
utusanLFC : wow..wow... wait a minute. I don't think Mascherano would forget that it was Rafa who saves him from being an outcast at West Ham. So no way he be joining that team. Hey...