Liverpool look set to steal a march on their rivals by beginning talks with representatives of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette next week.
The Frenchman had been expected to seal a move to Atletico Madrid this summer, but the Spanish giants are banned from bringing anyone in until January after losing their appeal to Uefa for signing under-age players.
Arsenal have been long-time admirers of the 26-year-old, who scored 37 goals in all competitions for Lyon last season, but they are now believed to have turned their attentions to Monaco’s young frontman Kylian Mbappe, while Manchester United are also said to be in the running.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has put the signing of a top class central striker high on his list of priorities this summer and feels that Lacazette, who has won 11 caps for France, fits the bill.
Lyon, however, are still hopeful of keeping the player, with chairman Jean-Michel Aulas recently saying: “We will have to meet with Alex again.
“We will have to see what will happen in the future, but today the decision to let Alexandre go is now under scrutiny.
“I would prefer that he stays. In the context of our competitiveness and our desire to build a truly great team for next season.
“Lyon has a lot of very good players and if Alexandre does not leave it will be another player in very similar conditions.”
Lacazette, however, wants something that Liverpool can offer him in Champions League football and the report in the Sunday Express claims that talks will get underway next week.