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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Liverpool lead race to sign Cole

Liverpool and Sunderland have indicated that they are ready to launch bids for West Ham United striker Carlton Cole.

• Liverpool show interest in Cole
• Guardiola coy on Mascherano

Soccernet has been informed that neither club have, as yet, made an official bid, but the Hammers are well aware of the interest mounting from the two clubs.

Soccernet first revealed that the Hammers were asking £15 million for Cole and that the player's preference was a move to Anfield. Now Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is ready to make the long awaited swoop after failing with a succession of moves for other strikers.

Sunderland are the latest club to be linked with the centre-forward this week, while Stoke and Birmingham have been in hot pursuit without success in turning Cole's head.

Cole made it clear he would only quit Upton Park for a big club and West Ham have been anticipating a move from Liverpool.

With the expected sale of Javier Mascherano to Barcelona for more than £20 million, Hodgson has lined up a move for Cole.

Once Liverpool have sold Mascherano, who was rescued from the Hammers bench by his £18 million move to Anfield, the Reds can offer West Ham the inducement of paying a large chunk of the fee up front, which in turn can aid the Hammers' transfer business in the final days of the window.

Co-owner David Sullivan has been busy lining up a replacement for Cole and, once the England international departs, two more strikers are earmarked for Upton Park.

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