Arsenal target Liverpool keeper to ease defensive troubles

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Arsenal will turn to Liverpool and Spain stopper Pepe Reina as Arsene Wenger seeks to stop the rot at the Emirates.

After Swansea recorded a well-warranted 2-0 win in north London, the Gunners have drifted out to 21/20 shots to finish in the top four and are currently five points adrift in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

A reliable number one is something that has eluded Arsenal since Jens Lehmann departed the club in 2008, with various alternatives being tested and none living up to expectations.

It is thought that Reina – who has recorded 163 cleans sheets in 386 games for the Merseyside giants – would be available for around £10m, half of what the Gunners offered to sign the 30-year-old in 2010.

For Wenger to even consider signing a player of that age is indicative of the desperation currently felt in the Gunners’ camp, as the minimum remit of seasonal participation in the Champions League looks further beyond them with every week that passes.

Reina is arguably the best keeper in the Premier League and would improve Arsenal’s defensive woes immeasurably. This, however, should see a bid of £10m fall a shade on the short side; something closer to the offer they made two seasons ago would be more likely see the deal go through.

Brendan Rodgers is thought to be willing to listen for offers for his current number one, with Birmingham’s Jack Butland the man lined up as his replacement.

The England international is regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football and the Reds could land him for a relatively cut-price £8m the west Midlands side’s financial crisis showing no signs of improving.

The Daily Mail reports that Stoke’s Asmir Begovic and German Ron-Robert Zieler of Hannover are also on the Northern Irishman’s list of targets should Reina leave the club in the January transfer window.

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