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Heskey linked with Liverpool pre-contract deal

Speculation is mounting that Wigan Athletic striker Emile Heskey has agreed a pre-contract agreement that will seal a remarkable summer return to Liverpool.

The Daily Mail report that Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is keen on a reunion with the 31-year-old, but is unwilling to match the £4 million asking price Wigan are demanding for the England striker.

However, with the player's contract due to expire this summer and his refusal to so far agree a new deal at the JJB Stadium, Heskey would be allowed to sign an agreement with another club this month ahead of a free transfer move in the summer.

Heskey was sold for £6.25 million to Birmingham City in May 2004, but is now thought to be keen on augmenting his attacking line-up of Fernando Torres, Robbie Keane and Dirk Kuyt by adding Heskey's physical presence and aerial threat.

The 31-year-old began his career at Leicester City where his power, pace and eye for goal attracted a number of clubs, but it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature in 2000 when they spent £11 million to secure his services.

In his four years at Anfield Heskey failed live up to his considerable potential. However, since his departure Heskey's career has been rejuvenated and such has been the improvement in his overall game that he earned a recall to the England set-up.

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