Arsenal and Chelsea approach Barcelona over availability of No2 goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen

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Arsenal and Chelsea have both made firm approaches to Barcelona to ask about the availability of No2 goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen this summer, according to reports in Spain.

The Gunners are in the market for a long-term replacement for the aging Petr Cech, who turned 36 last month. And according to Sport, new boss Unai Emery has asked the club’s hierarchy to sign a new goalkeeper this summer.

Arsenal have reportedly made a direct approach to Barca to gauge whether a deal is possible for the Dutchman. But Chelsea have also enquired about Cillessen’s availability with the future of their stopper Thibaut Courtois unclear

Barcelona are ready to stand firm, however, and are not prepared to sell the Netherlands international for anything lower than his €60 million (£52m) release clause.

Cillessen is second choice to Germany’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen but is understood to be willing to remain at the Camp Nou unless he receives an offer he can’t turn down.

Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the 29-year-old but, unlike Arsenal and Chelsea,have yet to make a move.

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Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu shoots down suggestions Ousmane Dembele could leave Camp Nou

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Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has dashed the hopes of clubs trying to sign exciting French winger Ousmane Dembele by suggesting the youngster is a very important player for the Blaugrana’s future.

Barca spent £135.5m to sign the 21-year-old from Borussia Dortmund last summer, but his first year in Spain was hit by injuries, restricting the France international to just 17 La Liga appearances.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp joked with reporters this week that he was interested to hear Dembele was on the market, while Arsenal were hoping chief scout Sven Mislintat’s connection to Dortmund from his time with the Bundesliga outfit could secure a loan move.

But Bartomeu has shot down any plans the Premier League duo and others may have by stating just how important Dembele and Philippe Coutinho are to Barcelona’s future.

On a trip to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston Bartomeu said: “(Philippe) Coutinho, Dembele are for us a big investment.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates with Ousmane Dembele after his goal for France against Italy.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates with Ousmane Dembele after his goal for France against Italy.

“They are very important players and we expect a lot from them. Coutinho probably in the last four months has been very active for the team.

“But Dembele is a very young player, a very talented player that we are, of course, expecting a lot from.

“It’s not easy to play in Barcelona the first year because the model of football is quite different from the rest. But after one year I’m sure we are going to see Dembele and Coutinho at a very high level.”

Dembele scored for France as they beat Italy 3-1 in Nice on Friday.

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Barcelona's Under-12s win La Liga Promises youth tournament

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Photo courtesy: FC Barcelona

While their senior team might have secured the double – La Liga and Copa del Rey titles – this year, Barcelona‘s youngsters have followed suit.

On Sunday, they won they won the La Liga Promises, Spain’s most prestigious youth tournament for Under-12s.

The youth team defeated Espanyol 1-0 in a close final as Ivan Rodriguez’s only goal of the game helped them record victory.

A late surge by Espanyol couldn’t break Barca’s solid defence and the Blaugrana held on, to become champions.

Earlier, Barca defeated Deportivo La Coruna in the semi-final, that needed penalty shoot-outs to decide who would go through.

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