Spanish star wanted at both Anfield and the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal and Liverpool are among the favourites to sign Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes in the summer, according to reports.
Valdes, 31, has been with the Catalans since 1995, making over 550 appearances for the La Liga giants, but announced on Thursday that he had decided not to renew his contract at the Nou Camp.
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“The agents of Victor Valdes have informed FC Barcelona today about the irrevocable decision not to renew his contract,” read a statement on the club’s official website.
Valdes’ contract expires in 2014 but Barcelona are almost certain to listen to offers for the Spaniard this summer, rather than lose him on a free the following year.
This is a story that could well have legs.
Barcelona confirmed on Thursday that goalkeeper Victor Valdes has ‘unequivocally’ decided not to renew his contract at the Nou Camp and the 31-year-old will almost certainly leave in the summer.
Valdes has spent 17 years at Barca and it seems highly unlikely that the Spaniard will opt to sign for a rival team in La Liga.
MLS, Russia, Australia and the Middle East can all offer player a handsome pay-packet in semi-retirement these days but, at 31, Valdes is still a baby in goalkeeping years and will surely want to continue playing at the highest level.
Bayern Munich, who announced that former Barca boss Pep Guardiola would take over as head-coach in the summer, have unsurprisingly been linked with the 10-cap Spain international but the Bundesliga giants boast Manuel Neuer – arguably the world’s finest goalkeeper – and Valdes will not want to sit on the bench at this stage of his career.
Liverpool and Arsenal, however, should both be able to offer the World Cup winner first-team football and a new challenge.
Red boss Brendan Rodgers reportedly wants to freshen up his goalkeeping options, believing that Pepe Reina has gone stale at Anfield due to lack of genuine competition. Valdes could provide just that for his compatriot, although Rodgers would more likely cash-in on Reina and buy Valdes on the cheap, adding some much-needed funds to the club’s summer transfer kitty.
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, is reportedly unconvinced by Wojciech Szczesny and has considered a move for Birmingham’s Jack Butland. But the England player remains inexperienced and risky, and Wenger must feel that three-time Champions League winner Valdes can add experience and know-how to his Arsenal back-line.