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FC Barcelona wooing Aymen Abdennour; Puncheon pens new deal

FC Barcelona have invited Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour to the Camp Nou for the second leg of the club's Champions League tie with AC Milan.

FC Barcelona are attempting to lure Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour to the Camp Nou after inviting the Tunisia international to be their guest for the second leg of the club’s UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Italian giants AC Milan on 12 March, Sky Sports understands.

Abdennour, 23, has been watched by Barcelona scouts on several occasions this season, with the 23-year-old seen as a potential long-term replacement for Carles Puyol.

With that said, the Tunisia international, whose under contract at the Stadium Municipal de Toulouse until June 2016, is flattered by the Catalans’ interest in him, and rightfully so.

“Barcelona are a top team, but the invitation does not mean that I will sign for them,” said Abdennour.

“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.”

In January 2010, Bundesliga side Werder Bremen signed Abdennour on loan, with an option to make the deal permanent.

Bremen declined the option after the Tunisian made just six appearances for the club, creating the opportunity for Toulouse to sign the centre-back from CLP-1 powerhouse Etoile du Sahel in 2011.

As they say, the rest is history.

Puncheon pens new deal

Southampton winger Jason Puncheon has put pen to paper on a new deal that will keep him at St Mary’s until June 2016, according to Sky Sports.

Puncheon, whose current contract was due to expire at the end of the season, has been a key figure for both Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino this term.

The 26-year-old has scored six goals in 26 appearances for the Saints this season, having found the back of the net against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

In sum, Puncheon has established himself as a first-team regular at St Mary’s after being loaned out to Millwall, Blackpool and Queens Park Rangers from 2010 to 2012.

“It feels amazing,” Puncheon told the Saints’ official website.

“It’s obviously been a worry because my contract was up at the end of the season, so it was important for me to get tied down.

“It’s a weight off my mind, so now I can look to the long-term future. The club has a vision, and that’s why I’ve signed and stayed on.

“We got to the Premier League in three years, and now the club has a vision of playing European football – and we want to get there as soon as possible.”

Fri 1 March, 2013
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