Arsenal will make a £30million move for Daniel Sturridge when the summer transfer window opens.
Arsene Wenger is finally aware of the need for a top-class striker at the Emirates and has long been an admirer of Sturridge.
The 26-year-old scored in Liverpool’s 3-0 second leg win over Villarreal , having been an unused substitute for the first game in Spain.
And Jurgen Klopp described his performance in helping Liverpool to the final of the Europa League as ‘outstanding’ and labelled him ‘an unbelievable player’.
However, he has not always seemed as wildly enthusiastic, also leaving the England striker – who will be named in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad on Thursday – on the bench for both legs of the quarter-final win against Borussia Dortmund.
In pictures: Liverpool 3-0 Villarreal
Sturridge is fully recovered from his most recent injury problems and, unsurprisingly, he was also in a positive mood in the wake of the triumph over Villarreal, insisting there was no friction between him and Klopp and that he was happy at Anfield.
But recently he declared: “I am someone who wants to play every minute of every match so maybe when I’m not starting, it’s hard to take.”
Wenger seems uncertain who is best to lead his attacking line, alternating between Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud in recent weeks.
And Arsenal’s relatively meagre goals tally – Spurs, Leicester and Manchester City have outscored them this season – tells Wenger he needs to add firepower to his squad.
While he signed an new five-year deal back in 2014, Sturridge has never suggested he wants to stay at Anfield for the rest of his career.
If Liverpool send out even the merest hint that they are prepared to sell, Arsenal would face competition for Sturridge’s signature – but it might not be too stiff.
A return to Chelsea or Manchester City, for example, would be out of the question.
A fee for Sturridge would be tricky to negotiate. Liverpool would rate him way above the £30million level but bidders would point to his injury issues as a reason for a reduced mark.