Arsenal have given Barcelona until the end of July to sign Cesc Fábregas. Arsène Wenger is not prepared to countenance any deal for his 24-year-old captain unless he has time to reinvest the fee in a replacement before the transfer window closes on 31 August.
Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona head coach, has previously said that the Spanish giants are prepared to “fight to the end” of the window to bring their former player back to Catalonia. However he stated that the Arsenal captain was not their main priority with Alexis Sánchez, Udinese’s Chilean winger, the current focus.
Guardiola said: “This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are working on [it]. Barcelona has made an offer (of £26m), Arsenal another(between £35-40m), and we have time until 31 August and we’ll try to reach an agreement. There is a sum of money in the strong box set aside for this signing but if it doesn’t work out it will be kept in the box for something else. We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad.”
Wenger is aiming to keep Fábregas for another season, he insists that unless Barcelona finally end one of the longest-running recent transfer sagas by the close of the month, he will not be sold, saying recently: “We know that this story for Barcelona goes on for years now and we have to close that and for ourselves to focus on the season, hopefully with Cesc Fábregas.”
While Fábregas remains a target for Barca, Guardiola said that with the club in the process of selling Bojan Krkic to Roma, Sánchez, who will cost around £30m, is the principal concern. The manager said: ” “Between a midfielder and a forward, our priority is a forward,” he said, “but there’s money for two players.”
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This is looking more positive for Arsenal, as it looks like Barcelona are not going to be able to bully their way in and grab Fabregas for a cheap price, so he may in fact end up staying for one more season at least which will be welcomed by many fans I’m sure.