Liverpool are understood to be planning a last-gasp effort to sign Barcelona striker David Villa, despite reports the Spain international has agreed provisional terms with Tottenham. According to the Metro, Brendan Rodgers is keen to land a big-name striker this season, to cover the potential loss of Uruguay international and goal scoring talisman Luis Suarez.
Villa's future has been strongly linked to the Premier League since January, when Arsenal were repeatedly mentioned as a possible mid-season transfer destination; the Gunners had a deadline day bid rejected.
The 31-year-old is the Spanish national team's leading goal scorer but has found first team football difficult to come by at his present club. His lack of regular football led to speculation he could swap the Nou Camp for the Emirates in mid-season but the move was cancelled after Barcelona refused to sell him before the season finished.
And that situation is unlikely to change in the new season, with the Catalans signing Brazil star Neymar for over £50m. Villa remains a top class goal scorer though, as his return of 10 goals and five assists from 28 La Liga games shows.
In more recent weeks, Arsenal appear to have distanced themselves from Villa, with Arsene Wenger believed to be very close to signing 25-year-old Argentine Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid. And Spurs have taken the front runner's role in this race, with Goal.com reporting on a provisional agreement between the White Hart Lane side and Villa.
If Rodgers' interest is genuine, he will know he has a major fight on his hands to land the Spaniard. Both Spurs and Liverpool are at a disadvantage in that neither can offer Villa Champions League football. And the latter club are further disadvantaged by not being in European competition at all this season; Spurs will compete in the Europa League.
Could that influence Villa's decision? Possibly. The former Valencia man knows he needs to be at the top of his game to retain his place in the national team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Roberto Soldado is pushing hard for a regular berth and with Fernando Torres re-discovering his touch and confidence, spots in La Roja's attacking trio are few.
Being able to play against other top clubs from Europe will give Villa perhaps a bit more opportunity to develop and maintain his standard and impress Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.
Meanwhile, Rodgers believes this a key moment in Liverpool's attempt to re-establish themselves as Premier League contenders.
"We want to keep the acceleration and pushing on, so this is a very important window for us in the summer. We have to do our best to make it right, because the players who need to come in have to be effective right from the off," the former Swansea City boss said.