Cesc Fabregas wants Premier League return as Barca begin overhaul
Cesc Fabregas will consider a move to the Premier League this summer if his worst fears over his Barcelona career are confirmed.
Midfielder Fabregas is concerned that Barca will try to push him out of the exit door in a bid to overhaul their squad and offer him to former club Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Having made Lionel Messi the world’s highest-paid player on £16.3 million a year and spent £71.5 million to sign Neymar last summer, Barcelona need to recoup money to make major signings.
Barcelona can buy and sell players this summer after Fifa suspended its transfer ban on the club, which gives new coach Luís Enrique the chance to refresh his newly-inherited squad.
Fabregas is aware that Barca view him as one of their most saleable or tradable commodities and the Spaniard was harshly singled out for criticism from a section of fans as the club failed to win a trophy this season.
Enrique did little to calm the fears of Fabregas during his first Barcelona press conference. When asked about the future of the 27-year-old, he said: “We shouldn’t make any decisions. There is time for everything.”
Arsenal have a buy-back option on Fabregas that was agreed as part of the deal that saw him move back to the Nou Camp in 2011. Should he inform Barca that he wants to return to the Emirates, then Arsenal can re-sign him for around £25 million.
Manager Arsène Wenger has previously claimed that Fabregas will play for Arsenal again and would no doubt be tempted to take the Spaniard back.
Fabregas earns around £100,000 a week at Barca, which would no longer be a problem for Arsenal to match or better.
But Wenger would currently struggle to accommodate Fabregas into his team after signing Mesut Özil from Real Madrid last summer, handing Santi Cazorla a new contract and seeing Aaron Ramsey fulfil his potential. Jack Wilshere will also be hoping to return from the World Cup in good form.
Barcelona rejected two bids from United for Fabregas last summer, but would now accept a renewed approach from the Old Trafford club.
Fabregas was open to the idea of moving to United last summer and his representatives remained on good terms with the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Robin van Persie, who could be handed the Old Trafford captaincy by new manager Louis van Gaal, is good friends with Fabregas.
While Barcelona could look for straight cash deals from Arsenal and United, Fabregas is a player they can offer in exchange to both City and Chelsea.
With both clubs under Financial Fair Play pressure, City and Chelsea would be reluctant to pay big money for Fabregas.
But Yaya Touré’s fallout with City opens up the possibility of Barca offering Fabregas as part of a swap deal or trying to use the player to land Messi’s Argentina team-mate Sergio Agüero.
Barca also hold a strong interest in Chelsea’s David Luiz and are willing to offer Alex Song as part of a player-plus-cash deal. But Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, would be far more attracted to the prospect of a straight swap for Fabregas.
Mourinho has made Tottenham midfielder Paulinho a surprise summer target as he searches for a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard, but Fabregas would represent a better quality option.
Other than interest from England, Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola remains a big fan of Fabregas but the player is thought to favour the Premier League over Germany.
Fabregas first joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old from Barcelona in 2003 and spent eight years at the club, making 303 appearances for the club and scoring 57 goals.