Barcelona will go 'head-to-head' with Arsenal in pursuit of France starlet Mamadou Sakho, according to the Daily Mail.

The Gunners have long been linked with a swoop for the versatile 20-year-old, but reports in the Catalan press claim Barca have been monitoring his progress with a view to making a €9.5 million.

However, Liverpool have previously been linked with a move for the Paris Saint-Germain defender and could be set to spark a three-way battle for his signature.

But Liverpool are likely to have to secure Champions League - something that Arsenal and Barcelona can offer -football if they are to sign the France international after he revealed his aspiration to compete in Europe's top competition.

"The Europa League is good but my absolute dream is the Champions League. I have personal goals and I’m thinking," Sakho told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"My agents have received requests from foreign clubs which they must analyse with PSG. I do not know if I’ll stay, I must feel we can make progress next season."

Arsenal and Liverpool are thought to have identified Sakho as the man to bolster their respective defences after both teams have seen key players hit by long-term injuries.

The Gunners have had their fair share of defensive woes in recent times, but the loss of Thomas Vermaelen to an ongoing Achilles injury has hit Arsenal hardest.

The timing of Vermaelen's initial coincided with the departure of three centre-backs from the Emirates Stadium, although Arsenal have since moved to plug the gap.

Arsene Wenger did bring French pair Laurent Koscielny and Sébastien Squillaci to Arsenal in the summer to try to compensate for the loss, but his squad still lacks depth in the defensive department.

The Arsenal boss is now thought to want to bring Sakho to Arsenal to further bolster his defence, with the youngster likely to integrate well with the French contingent at the Emirates.

Similar to Arsenal and Vermaelen, Liverpool were hit with the news that Anfield stalwart Jamie Carragher would be out of action for three months after dislocating his shoulder against Spurs last month.

Injury to Daniel Agger has also been a headache for Roy Hodgson as the Liverpool boss has struggled to nail down a regular pair of starting centre-backs during his first season at Anfield.

Whether Liverpool launch a bid for Sakho in the New Year remains to be seen, but Hodgson is expected to have upwards of £25 million to enhance is squad when the transfer window reopens.

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