Wednesday 17 January 2018

Barcelona to make final £35m Fabregas bid

New bid: Barcelona are set to make final push for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas by tabling a £35 million offer. Photo: Getty Images
New bid: Barcelona are set to make final push for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas by tabling a £35 million offer. Photo: Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

Barcelona are poised to finally make their second offer of the summer for Cesc Fabregas, with a bid being prepared that is worth around €40 million (£35 million).

Until now, they have not tabled a formal offer above £27 million but the European champions will make one final push in an effort to end one of the longest-running transfer sagas in football.

Barcelona President Sandro Rosell is understood to be travelling back from the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, with manager Pep Guardiola clear about his final request. “We’re short of just one player and everyone knows which one that is,” Guardiola said.

Arsenal have so far stuck to their valuation for Fabregas of around £40 million and, although Arsène Wenger is clearly growing weary of the situation, it is far from certain that he will immediately accept a new offer from Barcelona.

Fabregas has missed all of Arsenal’s pre-season matches so far, with Wenger blaming both a hamstring injury and his captain’s “unsettled” mental state for his absence from the Emirates Cup last weekend.

However, Fabregas has now resumed training and, if there is no significant change to the Barcelona situation, will appear with the rest of the squad at the Emirates tomorrow for Arsenal’s annual ‘members’ day’.

The club’s pre-season team photograph is also due to be taken tomorrow and Arsenal are currently expecting Fabregas to take his place in the picture. Fitness permitting, it is still possible that he could play in the friendly against Benfica on Saturday.

Barcelona’s final offer for Fabregas is expected to be worth £35 million, which would include around £5 million of potential add-ons. It is understood that Fabregas is prepared to accept around £5 million less in his salary over the duration of the contract, a concession that would encourage Barcelona to raise their bid.

Arsenal will also further assess ankle injuries to Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere before deciding whether either player should travel to Benfica.

Wenger will be reluctant to allow them to feature in England’s friendly against Holland next Wednesday if they do not play for Arsenal this weekend.

Walcott has had a protective boot on his ankle but rejoined light training on Tuesday and is optimistic of being fit for the start of the season. Wilshere has confirmed on Twitter that he is suffering from nothing more than an inflammation of his ankle and should be fit again “in a few days”.

Arsenal are also still keen to push through deals for Valencia winger Juan Mata and Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka, although there was a blunt message yesterday from chairman Peter Hill-Wood for frustrated fans. “As Arsène said, we are looking to buy some players but we are not going to do our business in public,” said Hill-Wood.

Mata’s father, Juan Manuel Mata Rodriguez, said he expects Arsenal to renew their interest although also had encouraging words for Inter Milan.

One player that Arsenal are close to signing is 16-year-old midfielder José Rodríguez Martínez from Real Madrid. Rodríguez Martínez is understood to have impressed Arsenal scout, Francisco Cagigao, during the Under-17 World Club Championship in Madrid.

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