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Liverpool would sanction Sterling swap for Walcott and Gibbs - sources

Liverpool have told Arsenal that they will only do a deal for want-away winger Raheem Sterling if Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs are included, sources have told ESPN FC.

Sterling, 20, is refusing to sign a new contract at Anfield and is widely expected to leave before his current deal expires in the summer of 2017.

Liverpool have said repeatedly that he is not for sale, but with the contract saga continuing, they are attempting to leverage any deal so it bests suits them.

Indeed, sources close to the deal have told ESPN FC that they have approached Arsenal about the possibility of swapping Sterling for left-back Gibbs and forward Walcott, especially as it is known that manager Arsene Wenger is interested in the Anfield winger.

Liverpool believe the two players would ideally fill the gaps in their squad, while also adding an element pace that was too often missing last season.

Gibbs, 25, has found himself behind Nacho Monreal in the pecking order for Arsenal during the second half of the season, while Walcott's future is unclear as he has yet to pen an extension to his current deal which expires in 2016.

Theo Walcott has not cemented his future at Arsenal this season.

The 26-year-old was out injured for a large part of the season, but Walcott wants assurances that he will play regular first-team football -- something that Wenger may not be able to offer him with Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all competing for a similar position.

As it stands, Manchester City are leading the race for Sterling's signature if they put down a cash bid of around £40 million, but the Reds are already making moves to add to their squad regardless of the Sterling saga.

Liverpool are closing on City midfielder James Milner, who is available on a free transfer, while the Anfield club are also confident that Burnley's Danny Ings will pick them as his next destination.

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