Emirates Stadium side in the hunt for highly rated Ligue 1 defender.
Barcelona look to beat Arsenal and Chelsea in race for Nicolas N’Koulou
Arsenal and Chelsea have since made regular trips to scout the defender, with both clubs present at the Coupe De La Ligue final in April, where his man-of-the-match performance helped Marseille edge Lyon 1-0.
However, as the Premier League duo continue to monitor 22-year-old N’Koulou, Spanish giants Barcelona are confident of seeing off the competition and snatching their man in January.
Barca boss Tito Vilanova is desperate to add to his defensive ranks in the new year, and a combative and versatile centre-back is his number one priority.
N’Koulou fits the bill perfectly, and with Marseille keen to raise funds to aid their own shopping spree a bid of around £15million should be enough to convince them to sell.
Arsenal’s need for a central defensive signing is far less immediate than Barcelona’s. Tito Vilanova has a squad jam packed with attacking talent but doesn’t have much in the way of back-up options to support veteran Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique.
Though the Catalan boss is trying to hand youngster Marc Bartra more first team experience he could still do with extra options at the back.
Arsene Wenger on the other hand has three top quality centre backs in Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, all of whom are the right side of 30. Though the likes of Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou are not of the highest quality they are rarely needed.
N’Koulou is however a top quality player who has really come into his own this season, helping Marseille to mount a genuine title challenge.
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