Barcelona closing in on £35m deal for Fabregas
Barcelona and Arsenal were locked in talks yesterday over Cesc Fabregas, with the European champions increasingly confident they can agree a deal worth around £35m.
Although a new bid was not formally tabled, Barcelona were back in contact with Arsenal following their rejection last week of a £27m offer.
The latest talks were understood to be productive and, while there remains some difference in the valuations, there is a mounting sense that this protracted transfer saga is finally nearing an end.
Arsenal are believed to be holding out for a deal that, with add-ons, they can present to their fans as more like £40m.
The Gunners are also coming under further pressure over Sami Nasri, with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson increasingly confident that a £20m bid could be enough to land the France midfielder.
Despite the insistence of Arsène Wenger earlier this month that, "one thing's for sure: we're not selling him (Nasri) to Manchester United," Ferguson has become encouraged by his chances of prising Nasri from Arsenal.
With the player refusing to commit to a new contract at the Emirates, Arsenal risk losing the 24-year-old for nothing when his deal expires next summer.
United have been informed that Nasri is prepared to leave Arsenal for Old Trafford.
However, Wenger's resistance to selling one of his best players to United, particularly if it coincides with the loss of Fabregas to Barcelona, is likely to provide a formidable obstacle to Ferguson's attempts to sign the Frenchman.
Manchester City are monitoring Nasri's situation, with the former Marseille player listed as a secondary target should priority signings fail to arrive at Eastlands. But, with Arsenal due to report for pre-season training next Tuesday, United are ready to make their move. (© Daily Telegraph, London)