Liverpool keen to lure Boumsong

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The Independent Football

The Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier, has set up a £5m swoop for Auxerre's French international centre-half Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Houllier has spoken with his close friend Guy Roux to arrange the transfer when the window opens in January - and help sort out Liverpool's defensive problems.

Houllier has pinpointed the powerful Boumsong as the answer to his troubles at the back where Liverpool have started to creak this season, capped by their 3-2 beating at Charlton.

Houllier will hope to persuade the Anfield board to back him with cash for the priority position. He was keen to buy in August, but was told to carry on with what he had available.

However,results have shown that the rock-solid Liverpool back line is now crumbling, with both Stephane Henchoz and Sami Hyypia getting older and Igor Biscan not yet proving a success.

Boumsong is also wanted by several other clubs round Europe, but Houllier's relationship with Roux is so strong that Liverpool are clear favourites.

The pair have talked a lot in recent weeks about both Boumsong and the £15m-rated striker Djibril Cisse, but now the defender is the player who should head for Merseyside first. Boumsong has been a Liverpool target since he was at Le Havre and his rise at Auxerre and to the full French side is no surprise to Houllier

The big test will be whether Liverpool are willing to bankroll another move for a foreigner.

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