Arsenal FC Transfer News: Barcelona will Pay Bilbao Defender's Buy-Out Clause to Beat Gunners

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By Mark Wayne Eubank | May 2, 2014 5:47 PM EST

FC Barcelona are reported to be leading the race against Arsenal in signing Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte as they are willing to pay for his £29.5million buy-out clause.

Reuters
Barcelona's Lionel Messi vies for the ball against Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and Aymeric Laporte during their La Liga soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona

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The 19-year-old France Under-21 member started 33 times for the Lions in the La Liga and the Copa del Rey, helping them reach the quarter-finals in the latter tournament, while fighting for a slot in the Champions League as they are currently occupying the fourth spot with three more games to go in the domestic league.

The young centre-back can also be attributed with Bilbao's fine form in defence, conceding only 38 goals in the Spanish top-flight, thus far, and coming out with nine clean sheets while he was on the pitch.

The Catalan outfit will be looking to add a legitimate stopper at the back, with converted full-back Javier Mascherano filling in for the injury-prone Carles Puyol, who is expected to leave this summer, while the Gunners are looking for a replacement for outgoing skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Barcelona's Lionel Messi vies for the ball against Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and Aymeric Laporte during their La Liga soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona
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