Transfer Rumours: Arsenal, Liverpool and the 6 Centre-Backs They Could Buy
Who could forget the drama of last seasons fixture, Liverpool saving a draw with the latest goal ever scored in Premier League football.
Many pundits predict that three Champions League places are already decided upon with both Manchester clubs and Chelsea battling for position only.
That leaves Arsenal and Liverpool the consensus choices to fight for that last remaining Champions League berth and both teams have a similar need at the heart of their defense.
Arsenal have needed a central defender for years, yet manager Arsene Wenger seems quite happy to spend his transfer money on wingers as recent arrival Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shows.
However, Arsenal fans are being to ask serious questions of their managers transfer ability, and it would seem that this is finally the season that Wenger plunges into the transfer market for the commanding centre-back Arsenal so desperately need.
Liverpool, on the other hand, need a changing of the guard.
Jamie Carragher is not getting any younger and Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel is not a partnership to strike fear in the hearts of opposing strikers.
Manager and fan-favourite Kenny Dalglish has shown that he does have money behind him in this transfer window, as Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have already been welcomed to Anfield after £20 million moves.
With both teams renewing their rivalry on the pitch this weekend, it seems that both will be rivals in the transfer market.
Here are six central defenders both clubs should be looking at.
1. Gary Cahill
Expect to see Mr Cahill in a red shirt before this summer is over
Bolton's best player has been strongly linked with both clubs for several weeks and with Wanderers reported interest in Liverpool striker David N'gog, he could be making an Anfield switch soon.
Cahill is a towering centre-half that reads the game brilliantly and has a goal-scoring prowess that was beautifully demonstrated at newly-promoted QPR last weekend.
Now that Arsene Wenger has money at his disposal thanks to the sale of captain Cesc Fabregas, Cahill looks certain to draw a bid form the London club.
With a £17 million release clause in his contract, both Arsenal and Liverpool look set to test Wanderers' mettle, and ultimately, it may be down to Cahill to choose his new club.
2. Scott Dann
Born in Liverpool and raised a Liverpudlian, Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann would favour an Anfield move more than anyone on this list.
With both clubs reportedly fighting over the £10 million man, it would be assumed that Dann would only have one destination in mind.
Following Birmingham's relegation last season and defensive partner Roger Johnson's move to Wolves, it is only a matter of time before Dann moves onto bigger things.
Aged only 24, Dann would improve either defense dramatically for many years to come.
However, after missing the majority of last season through injury, would both clubs be wary of paying millions for a defender that would face long spells on the sideline?
3. Phil Jagielka
Arsenal have already had a bid for the Everton centre-half rejected this summer and thanks to their new riches, may come back with an improved bid soon.
Jagielka is tipped by many to become an England regular alongside Gary Cahill when the old guard of Terry and Ferdinand step aside.
With Everton's financial woes, an high bid that is too good to turn down somewhere in the £20 million range would be needed to pry Jagielka away from the Toffees.
Thanks to the fierce rivalry between Everton and Liverpool, it is safe to assume that the red half of Merseyside will not bother with a bid for the Everton man, knowing they have little chance of stealing one of their neighbours best assets.
4. Per Mertesacker
German international Per Mertesacker is the only non-Premier League player that makes the list thanks to his brilliant performances for his country and Werder Breman last season.
The 26-year-old defender seems to be the cheapest option on the list with a reported £6 million wanted by Werder Breman.
Another goal-scoring centre-back, Mertesacker, has won 75 caps for Germany and is the most polished player that makes the list.
Arsene Wenger has apparently been tracking the player for several seasons and due to his attractive price tag would surely be Arsenal's first port of call on their quest for a new defensive leader.
Watch this space.
5. Christopher Samba
Blackburn Rovers have had to part with one central defender this summer and it looks like another may be on the way out of the Ewood Park exit.
Manchester United snapped up prospect Phil Jones early in the summer for an undisclosed fee thought to be over £15 million, as Sir Alex Ferguson seems to have secured the United defense for the next 10 years.
Congolese-international Samba dreams of Champions League football, and has apparently begged manager Steve Kean to let him move to Arsenal but the Gooners are yet to place a bid.
Samba seems to be the least polished defender on the list and it could be better for Arsenal if they look elsewhere.
Certainly a physical presence at the back but also a little clumsy, is Samba really the answer to Arsenal's defensive question?
6. Ryan Shawcross
With Premier League managers looking to home-grown English talent more and more, Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross has attracted the attention of Liverpool this summer.
A no-nonsense centre-back that tackles hard and strong, Shawcross has riled opposing managers ever since his Premier League debut in 2008.
A former Manchester United player, Shawcross' hard tackling has apparently scuppered his chances of an Arsenal move thanks to his leg-breaking challenge on Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey in 2010.
Stoke City boss Tony Pulis has firmly stated that his captain is not for sale, but if Liverpool fail in their other centre-back pursuits, the Potters resolve may be tested before the August 31 deadline.