Barcelona are close to signing Arsenal midfielder Alex Song, according to ESPN.
The La Liga side have been heavily linked with a move for the 24 year old in recent weeks and the report says the club's vice president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was in London on 14 August to tie up a £15m (€19m) move after an initial offer of around £12m (€15m) was knocked back by the Gunners. However, speculation that one of either Ibrahim Afellay or Cristian Tello will move to the Emirates on a season-long loan as part of the deal has been dismissed.
After the departure of Seydou Keita and Eric Abidal earlier, Barcelona boss Tita Vilanova identified the need to sign a powerful and versatile player, who could operate as a midfielder or defender, and Song fits the bill. If the transfer goes through as reported, Song will become the second key Arsenal midfielder the Catalans have signed inside a year, after snapping up playmaker Cesc Fabregas last summer.
The Spaniards have made no secret of their desire to sign the Gunners star, with Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets, all having spoken publicly of their desire to see Song at Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, ex-Cameroon and veteran Spanish club coach Javier Clemente said he feels the Arsenal anchorman would fit in well at Barcelona.
"(Song) is a fantastic player. Physically he is very strong, dynamic, he works very hard and is very good technically. He is at the Barca level. He is a player with some things from Keita and some from (Yaya) Toure. For me he has more imagination in attack. He is a happy character who dances and sings and is a very good presence in the dressing room. If you know how to manage him, he gives you no problems, like Samuel (Eto'o)," Clemente pointed out in the ESPN report.
Song's compatriot and Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Idrissi Kameni earlier revealed the midfielder told him was keen on a move to the Camp Nou.
"We were together on holiday and he said he wants to go to Barcelona. Everyone wants to play for Barcelona. Song would fit right in at Barcelona. He has all the qualities to play there. He is like Yaya Toure, but with more responsibility. He's doing well. He works hard and is the complete player," Goal.com quoted Kameni as saying.