MANCHESTER City are closing in on Gary Cahill – with either Nedum Onuoha or Dedryck Boyata, or both, set to move in the opposite direction.

Arsenal were leading a host of clubs in the race to sign the Wanderers defender, with Gunners star Jack Wilshere admitting to “tapping” him up at England’s training camp last week.

But The Bolton News understands big-spending City are red-hot favourites to sign the sought-after 25-yearold.

Cahill has a £17million buyout clause in his contract but Owen Coyle wants players plus cash as he looks to strengthen his wafer-thin squad over the summer.

Blues stars Onuoha, Boyata, Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips have all been linked with Wanderers as possible makeweights in a swap deal.

But the Bolton manager is not interested in Bellamy while winger Wright-Phillips’ £60,000-a-week wages would destabilise the salary structure at the Reebok.

Coyle is desperate for defenders and either – or both depending on negotiations – £7m-rated Onuoha, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, and Belgian youngster Boyata plus money would represent excellent business.

The duo’s versatility appeals to the Bolton boss, with both comfortable at centre half or right back, especially with Sam Ricketts unlikely to be fit for the start of next season after rupturing his Achilles against Wigan in February.

Nigerian-born Onuoha, aged 24, came through the youth system with City but he was deemed surplus to requirements by Roberto Mancini and shipped out on loan to the Stadium of Light 12 months ago.

He is not part of the City manager’s plans for next season as the Italian looks to build a squad capable of challenging on two fronts after qualifying for the Champions League.

Boyata could be harder to prise away. The 20-year-old, who joined City from FC Brussells in 2006, is well thought of at Eastlands after making 16 appearances last term, including starting in the 2-0 victory against Wanderers on the final day of the campaign.

A Wanderers XI will play friendlies at Newport County, from the Conference, on Saturday, July 30 at 3pm, and League Two’s Hereford United on Monday, August 1 at 7.30pm.