Arsenal lock horns with Barcelona in signing solid rock attacker in January

Barcelona have included Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe on a three-man shortlist to replace Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay international has struggled this season despite scoring a hat-trick in the El Clasico win over Real Madrid.

He returned from his post-World Cup holiday to accusations that he was overweight but has managed to score nine goals in 16 appearances in all competitions.

Suarez turns 32 in January and though he is contracted to the Catalan giants until 2021 his days at the Nou Camp look like they are numbered.

The former Liverpool favourite admitted at the start of November it was “normal” that Barca would begin searching for his replacement.

Their pursuit of Antoine Griezmann last summer became public, with the France international eventually opting to stay at Atletico Madrid.

He scored in the recent 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain and has been linked with moves to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Arsenal are also said to be interested and the 23-year-old admits to being fond of all the sides keen on his services.

He said: “A preference between Dortmund, Bayern or Arsenal? They’re all big clubs.

“I was not aware of these rumours, although it’s nice.

“Will I leave Lille at the end of the season? We do not even know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.”

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