Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is believed to be prepared to turn down a move to Arsenal for a switch to French side AS Monaco to link up with his former team-mate Eric Abidal.
Valdes will leave the Spanish champions at the end of the season as he runs down the final year of his contract, having spent 11 years with the Catalan club which many were alongside defender Abidal.
Despite the Gunners’ interest in Valdes, with questions remaining over Wojziech Szczesny’s long-term suitability despite his good start to the season, the goalkeeper has admitted that he would love to feature in the same team as Abidal once again, with the 34-year-old now captain of Ligue 1 side Monaco.
Abidal joined the mega-rich French side in the summer following their promotion from the second tier in France, and Valdes has admitted “Playing alongside him again would be special”.
Arsenal did sign a goalkeeper in the summer in the form of 27-year-old Italian Emiliano Viviano, although he is yet to see a minute of playing time with the Gunners since he completed his season- long loan from Palermo.
Barcelona are reported to have agreed a fee for Borussia Monchengladbach for the transfer of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with the young German having been identified as the perfect Valdes’ replacement.
The 21-year-old, highly rated across the continent, is expected to head to the Nou Camp in the summer, although Barcelona’s head coach remains keen on bringing another goalkeeper in with interest remaining in Chelsea’s Thibault Courtois – currently on loan with Atletico Madrid – and Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, who is also out on loan with Italian side Napoli.
Celtic’s English goalkeeper Fraser Forster is also believed to be on Martino’s radar, having impressed against Barcelona in the Champions League after the Scottish champions were drawn against Barcelona for the second year running this campaign.