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Barca closing in on £37m Fabregas deal

Barcelona are expected to make an offer to Arsenal of around £35m for Cesc Fabregas this week, their third bid of the summer, which it is anticipated will finally prompt the endgame of the long-running transfer saga around the Gunners captain.

While Arsenal have always maintained a valuation on Fabregas of £40m, the expectation is that the clubs will meet at around £37m and the player will be permitted to leave with Arsene Wenger's blessing. The 24-year-old midfielder has had the agreement of the Arsenal manager that he can go once Barcelona make an offer that is acceptable to the club.

Barcelona's long pursuit of their former academy player has ultimately come down to price this summer. They have had preliminary offers of £27m and £31m rejected.

The £40m benchmark has been maintained by Arsenal throughout the process but, with Barca now so close, it is expected that they will finally accept an offer marginally short of that.

The Arsenal squad will go to Germany on Friday for the squad's pre-season training camp, including a game against Cologne on Saturday, and Fabregas will not expect to be on that trip if negotiations finally come to fruition this week.

He missed the tour of the Far East earlier this month with injury. Wenger said on Sunday that the Spaniard was not even back training with the squad.


The club's position on Fabregas is that, if an agreement is reached with Barcelona this week, then Samir Nasri will be told that he will not be allowed to leave this summer. The France international has an offer in principle from Manchester City for this transfer window but will be able to leave for free in a year's time -- potentially an even more lucrative proposition for him.

Another gap opened up in Wenger's squad yesterday when he agreed to let 23-year-old midfielder Denilson go on loan to Sao Paulo.

Outspoken in the past about losing his place in the team, Denilson was completely overshadowed by Jack Wilshere's development last season and made just six starts in the Premier League.

Denilson said: "I will be playing in Brazil next season as I felt that this is a good opportunity for me to play regular first-team football. I move away with sadness because I have so many friends at Arsenal and everyone has always been so supportive towards me."

Arsenal are expected to sign 19-year-old Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell from Deportivo Saprissa. The club's de facto director of football Dick Law has been in central America to oversee a £900,000 fee for the player.

Gervinho has signed a five-year deal after his £11m signing from Lille this month and will be on the trip to Germany this week. After a summer fighting a battle to keep their key players at the club, Gervinho's arrival yesterday was some respite from the concerns about the futures of Fabregas and Nasri.

The striker said that working with Wenger was a key part of his decision to come to the club.

"When you are young, you always want to improve, to work with great managers -- and Arsene Wenger is one of the best in the world," he said.

"I think that, with him, I will become a much better player, and he was very important in my choice to sign here. I came here because I believe that he can improve my game and help me reach another level, but the most important thing for me is that I bring a lot to the team for whom I am playing.

"I want to use my time here at Arsenal to develop my strengths. I know English football is harder and I might need a bit of time at the start, but ultimately it is down to me to raise my game and adapt."

Manchester City, meanwhile, are adamant they have agreed a £44m deal for Carlos Tevez with Corinthians despite the Brazilian club's denials yesterday.

City manager Roberto Mancini said at a press conference in Vancouver in the early hours of yesterday morning that Corinthians had agreed a fee with City for Tevez. The Sao Paolo club later said that they were still studying a proposal from City regarding fees and payment schedules and had not come to a final agreement.

However, City sources say that a payment programme and fee were agreed overnight on Sunday. All they now require is the first payment to be moved forward to this year and a bankers' guarantee.

The richest club in British football have been offered the Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero as a replacement, although it is not yet clear whether they regard the Argentina international as a suitable alternative. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent