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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Robinho welcomes Barca interest as rumours grow

Robinho has done little to quell reports that he could join Barcelona in January by admitting it is "not easy" to turn down Pep Guardiola's Treble winners.

The Brazilian was Manchester City's star acquisition last summer when joining the club from Real Madrid in a British record £32m deal, but recent reports have indicated that Robinho could well return to Spain to join Madrid's great rivals, Barca.

Despite signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan, the Spanish champions are believed to be searching for another forward and Robinho would be a natural replacement for the ageing Thierry Henry in Barca's talented squad.

The 25-year-old boasts 14 goals in 33 league games under Mark Hughes but has left his suitors in no doubt that he would welcome the opportunity to move to Camp Nou.

"It's not easy to say no to a club like Barcelona," Robinho is quoted in the Guardian. "They are European champions, they're in a lovely city and I like Spain a lot.

"I have always wanted to play at clubs like Barcelona. It's a great club, any player would be happy for them to show an interest. I'm happy that Barcelona have taken notice of me.

"Who wouldn't like to play alongside Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Lionel] Messi, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic and all the rest? I like Barcelona; they're a great club."

Robinho is a doubt for City's game against Arsenal at the weekend after sustaining a thigh injury as Brazil clinched World Cup qualification with a 3-1 victory at arch rivals Argentina on Saturday night.

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