Arsenal cannot afford to lose 'Kosc the Boss'

Spanish giants Barca desperate to strengthen their backline

Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny is a surprise transfer target for Barcelona, the Metro reported.

The Catalan club have been moved into action to strengthen their backline after having used Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets out of their natural positions last season.

New boss Tito Vilanova was rumoured to be keen on Gunners star Thomas Vermaelen and AC Milan's Thiago Silva, who is set for Paris Saint-Germain.

Reports in the French press have claimed they are seriously considering making a bid for Koscielny, it said.

The 26-year-old struggled during his first season at Arsenal following his £8.5 million move from Lorient in 2010, but caught the eye of some of Europe's other major clubs after a much-improved display last term.

He was linked with Inter Milan earlier in the summer and now Barcelona.

The news comes just days after the France international had opened talks about a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium.

According to French paper L'Equipe, Koscielny will be offered a new five-year deal that will take the 26-year-old through to 2017 on vastly improved terms.

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