Barcelona keen on keeping Arsenal target Valdes

Barcelona are keen on keeping Spanish international goalkeeper Victor Valdes, according to the Daily Mirror. Arsenal remain interested in acquiring the services of Valdes in the summer, but the Catalans have insisted he will not be available for sale.

The 31-year-old has come through the ranks of the Barca academy, and has made 357 league appearances at the Nou Camp since breaking through into the first team ranks in 2002. He has made 13 international appearances for Spain in that time, although he is often behind Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina in the pecking order for the reigning world and European champions.

In January, Valdes insisted he will not sign a new contract with the Spanish champions-elect. His current deal expires in the summer of 2014. However, the club’s vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu will prefer him to leave for free, rather than be forced into a cash transaction one year earlier than scheduled.

He said: “(President Sandro) Rosell has had contact with Valdes to make it clear that we have to leave the doors open. As we prioritise sporting aspects, we prefer to run out the contract until June 2014 rather than sell him this summer.

Arsenal are also keeping a watch on Stoke stopper Asmir Begovic and QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

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