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This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Chelsea are ready to gazump Arsenal and Liverpool to snatch Barcelona's David Villa.
World Cup winner Villa has become a Nou Camp outsider after suffering a broken leg last season, making just a handful of first-team starts for the La Liga leaders.
And interim Blues boss Rafa Benitez is now planning a £12million raid for his fellow Spaniard.
Benitez is seeking an out-and-out striker to give Fernando Torres the chance to rest in the second half of the season, and is also keen to land a combative and physical central midfielder.
But the Stamford Bridge chief also wants a player who can operate between the lines in the manner of Manchester City's David Silva, and has identified the Barcelona man as the answer.
Both Arsenal and Liverpool have also targeted the 31-year-old star, who cost the Spanish giants £33m in 2010.
Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarretta has insisted: "In January, we will keep Villa."
However Chelsea, along with Arsenal and Liverpool, believe that amounts to little more than a bargaining position for a player his club will be keen to offload.
Source: Daily Mirror