Arsenal are expected to finally make a significant offer for Bolton defender Gary Cahill in the January transfer window, admits Trotters boss Owen Coyle.
The north London side have continually been linked with Cahill over the past year, but have never actually made a significant offer for the defender.
However, Coyle expects that Arsenal will face plenty of competition for the England centre-back who has established himself as one of the most talented defenders in the Premier League.
Bolton placed a price tag of £16million on the defender over the summer and despite plenty of speculation he stayed at the club. Now he is set to face Arsenal on Saturday where he will hope to once again show what the club missed out on.
Cahill is now in the final year of his contract and Bolton are aware that they may need to cash-in on the player in January, but are hoping that a number of clubs will court his services which could hike the price up.
"We were prepared to do business, we always said we wouldn't stand in the way if a move was in the player's best interests, but ideally you would like the deal to go through early in the window so that you can get on with finding a replacement," said Coyle.
"When it gets to a late stage in the window it is more difficult for the club and the player, but we were realistic about the prospect of losing Gary right up to the last day and always open with him, even though selling him at that point would have left us a hole to fill.
"In the end we never got close to that dilemma; with the figures mentioned a deal wasn't going to happen. I know Arsène Wenger admires Gary, and wouldn't have a problem with him coming back in January, but if I'm honest I think there will be more clubs than Arsenal in for him next time."
Coyle also suggested that Cahill could still improve, he said: "He's a great player at a great age, with plenty of scope for continued improvement, and all he has to do now is keep doing what he does best.
"His performances for Bolton Wanderers were what got him into the England team to begin with. He doesn't have anything to prove to anyone at Arsenal."