Barca ramp up Cesc bid
Barcelona are aiming to sign Cesc Fabregas within a fortnight but Arsenal's decision whether to sell will not be determined by the probable arrival of Ricardo Alvarez, another attacking midfielder, writes Jeremy Wilson.
Fabregas is scheduled to return to training at Arsenal on July 5, but, before then, Barcelona are likely to test the Gunners with a further bid of around £31m.
They have already had one offer of £27m turned down and, while Arsenal were adamant last summer that they would not consider a valuation below £45m, there is a hope at Barca that a compromise can be reached at around £35m.
Everything is likely to depend on the attitude of manager Arsene Wenger.
Publicly, Wenger has always sounded confident that Fabregas will stay.
The signing of Alvarez is likely to be announced in the next week, with a deal for Lille striker Gervinho also understood to be close.
In addition, Arsenal want two more centre-backs, with Christopher Samba, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka among the options.
Wenger has also said that he wants Gael Clichy to stay and has confirmed that the club have begun talks on a new contract with their left-back. Arsenal are about to resume negotiations with Samir Nasri, too.
Arsenal's general transfer policy has been to invest heavily in the player contracts of the existing squad but pay relatively less on transfer fees. This policy will be further supported by a new £25m deal with Barratt Homes to build 700 flats opposite the Emirates.