Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal will have to move fast if they are to sign Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill.
The England international – who started for England in their two recent EURO 2012 qualification matches – is set to be offered a new contract at the Reebok Stadium, having failed to land a transfer to one of the biggest teams in the country earlier this season.
However, the ball is most certainly in Cahill’s court.
The centre back is in the last year of his current deal, and knows that should the club not acquiesce to his demands, he could move to the club of his desires at the end of the Premier League season.
Those are thought to include Chelsea, whose manager Andre Villas Boas stated his intention to buy a British central defender earlier in the summer.
Tottenham Hotspur are also keen, with Spurs boss Harry Redknapp admitting on transfer deadline day that he had submitted a bid which was eventually rejected.
Arsenal also admitted defeat in their pursuit of Cahill, having submitted an offer Bolton boss Owen Coyle dismissed out of hand.
“The word derisory doesn’t even cover it,” claimed Coyle, but he may not be able to resist a bid in January from any of the trio of London clubs should Cahill not have signed a deal by then.