Barcelona identify Toulouse defender as Carles Puyol replacement

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Barcelona have pinpointed Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour as a long-term replacement for Carles Puyol, with the Tunisian international confirming that the Catalan side have scouted him on multiple occasions.

Sky Sports are reporting that Barcelona scouts have provided positive feedback on the 23-year-old and, as a result, have invited the centre-back to be their special guest for the second leg of their Champions League tie with AC Milan.

Abdennour has tried to play down a potential transfer, but has insisted his ambition is to play for a big club.

The Tunisian defender said: "Barcelona are a top team, but the invitation does not mean that I will sign for them.

"It is no secret that I have been watched several times by them, but also by other big clubs. I have always dreamt of playing for a big club and by the grace of God I will achieve that."

With 34-year-old club captain Puyol edging towards the end of his career, Barcelona have been searching for a young centre-half, and Abdennour appears to fit the bill.

Abdennour has made 19 Ligue 1 appearances for 12th-placed Toulouse this season, where he has a contract until 2016.

The centre-back has earned 10 caps for Tunisia and played in all three of their African Cup of Nations ties earlier this year as they narrowly missed out on the knockout stages.

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