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Suarez: Arsenal close to signing Barcelona midfielder

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Arsenal are close to completing the signing of Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez.The Spaniard, 25, will join the Gunners on loan until the end of the season, with a purchase option in the summer.

Suarez has played 71 times for Barcelona since joining in 2013 but has only featured eight times this season.He previously played under Gunners manager Unai Emery during a loan spell at Sevilla when Emery was in charge of the La Liga side.

On Tuesday, Barcelona announced Suarez would not be in their squad for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg against Sevilla while the player “looks to resolve his future”.

Arsenal had targeted Suarez throughout the January transfer window but their pursuit was complicated by wanting the deal to include only an option to buy and Barcelona demanding it be an obligation.

Reports in Spain suggest that, as a compromise, Suarez agreed to extend his current contract – which expires in June 2020 – in order to protect his value to Barcelona and encourage them to allow him to move to the Emirates Stadium.He will not be in attendance for Tuesday’s visit of Cardiff City in the Premier League.

Suarez spent two seasons at Manchester City as a teenager but only made two first-team appearances before being sold to Barcelona as a 19-year-old.

The Gunners remain in negotiations to sign a wide player – Inter Milan’s Croatia international Ivan Perisic is among the options being pursued, with Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco of Chinese club Dalian Yifang another to have been linked.

Despite a number of injuries, Arsenal are not likely to bolster their defence.

Captain Laurent Koscielny could be in contention to return in time for Sunday’s trip to Manchester City, while Sokratis Papadopoulos – who like Koscielny was forced off during the FA Cup defeat by Manchester United on Friday – is not expected to be out for long.

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