Barton: Given could be off to Gunners

Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given is close to agreeing a deal to join the Blues' Premier League title rivals Arsenal, according to his former Newcastle team-mate Warren Barton.

The Republic of Ireland international had intimated that he would consider leaving the Eastlands outfit if he did not start against Spurs on the opening weekend of the season.

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Given was indeed left on the bench by boss Roberto Mancini at White Hart Lane, with current England No.1 Joe Hart excelling between the sticks to ensure an extended run in the side.

As a result, the 34-year-old has been linked with a move away from Eastlands. Emirates Stadium is the likely destination, with Arsene Wenger believed to be keen to find a new long-term stopper after both Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski have failed to cut the mustard.

Wenger's top target is reportedly Fulham stopper Mark Schwarzer, who recently revealed that he is keen to complete a move to the Gunners, saying:

"Who wouldn't be keen to go to Arsenal? At this stage in my career it's an amazing opportunity to play at that level and one I really want to take."

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But with Given now on the lookout for a new club, Wenger may turn his attentions to the former Newcastle gloveman, whose ex-team-mate Barton admitted on Sunday that a deal with the Gunners could be concluded soon.

“I spoke to him and I wished him well. He is one of my old colleagues and he wasn’t sure he was going to start. He is 34 years of age and an excellent professional, and an excellent goalkeeper as well," he told Fox Soccer.

“For me there is no doubt he could be at Arsenal football club."

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