Liverpool are looking to pull off a sensational swoop for Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa in the summer, with the Reds' out-of-favour striker Andy Carroll moving in the other direction as part of the deal, the Daily Mail reports.
Carroll, who moved to Liverpool for a British record fee of £35m in 2011, has now been linked with a return to Newcastle at the end of the season. The Magpies are looking at the England international as a potential replacement for talisman Demba Ba, who left St James' Park for Chelsea in January. Ba's departure has left Alan Pardew slightly short up front, with Papiss Cisse and Yoan Gouffran being the only two notable forwards available.
However, Newcastle's midfield has seen a major face lift with Moussa Sissoko, one of the new boys, making a brilliant home debut against Chelsea, scoring a brace in their 3-2 win over the west London outfit. The addition of the versatile Gouffran has also strengthened the Magpies in that department giving Pardew the option of allowing Ben Arfa leave, provided an acceptable offer comes his way.
The injury-prone Ben Arfa, who moved from Marseille to Newcastle in 2010, has started only 13 Premier League games this season, scoring three goals and assisting two. Meanwhile, Carroll, who is currently on loan at West Ham United, has returned from the sidelines and seems to be in good touch, after scoring the winner in Hammers 1-0 win over Swansea City last week.
Liverpool are not short in midfield by any means with Steven Gerrard, Lucas, Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey all fighting for places in a three-man setup. However, Ben Arfa's arrival can surely provide Brendan Rodgers much more creativity.
The Merseyside club are currently seventh in the Premier League on 36 points, nine behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Newcastle, on the other hand, have opened a six-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone, and are currently 15th with 27 points.
Krul Excited by January Signings
Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul feels the January signings have boosted the Magpies' confidence and insisted it was apparent in their back-to-back victories against Aston Villa and Chelsea in the last two weeks.
"It's incredible, I can't say it enough. It can go either way with signings, it normally takes players time to settle but they've mingled straight away," Krul said.
The Dutchman also praised Sissoko for his brace against the Blues at St James' Park in the 3-2 win last week, which gave Newcastle their first victory over a top four side this season.
"He was incredible, running Ashley Cole down the side and it gives us the confidence that we can create. Hopefully he'll keep growing because he'll a terrific player for us," Krul added.