Saturday 17 March 2018

Fabregas on brink of securing Barca move

Jim van Wijk

Barcelona finally appear on the verge of bringing Cesc Fabregas back to the Nou Camp, with Arsenal reluctantly ready to accept less than their own valuation.

In what has become the most protracted transfer saga of recent times, the Gunners remained steadfast in their demands over a £40m fee for their club captain.

However, with the European champions not willing to improve significantly on their initial £27m offer and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitting the player was unsettled, it now appears as if the Emirates Stadium club will have to broker a cut-price deal to move on.

The package is reported to include a downpayment of €30m (£27m), with an additional €6m (£5.2m) in performance-based add-ons at a later stage.

There are also suggestions Fabregas is prepared to waive the £4m compensation he would be entitled to for the remainder of his long-term Arsenal contract, as technically the player never asked for a transfer.

Fabregas (above, right) had, officially at least, been struggling for match fitness because of a hamstring injury which saw him miss the club's Asian tour and other pre-season games, while Wenger omitted his captain from the Emirates Cup.

Were Fabregas (24) to feature in next week's first leg of Arsenal's Champions League play-off against Udinese, the midfielder would be ineligible for any other side later in the competition.

Fabregas joined Arsenal from Barcelona in 2003, and has made more than 300 appearances, scoring 57 goals.

However, despite winning both the European Championship and World Cup with Spain, club success has not followed for the midfielder, who missed the Gunners' shock Carling Cup final defeat at Wembley through injury.

Arsenal could also sell France midfielder Samir Nasri, who has yet to agree a contract extension, with Manchester City ready to offer £22m for the midfielder, who could leave on a free next summer.

Valencia midfielder Juan Mata is a long-time target of Wenger.

Arsenal winger Andrey Arshavin accepts there is little any club can do when a player has his heart set on a move away.

"The policy of our club (next season) is the same, but it is difficult to say anything specific now, not least from the fact that two leading players, Cesc and Samir, have not decided their future," Arshavin said.

"The loss of any one of them would be enormous, and we naturally want to see Cesc and Samir play with us in the future -- but if the player wants to leave the club...It is hard to say (whether they will stay)."

Wenger is determined to bolster his squad further following the £12m arrival of pacy forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton.

Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell is said to be close to a £1m move to Emirates.

Defensive reinforcements are top of the agenda, with a £6m move for Birmingham's centre-half Scott Dann said to be imminent after Arsenal failed to complete a deal for Everton's Phil Jagielka or Gary Cahill from Bolton.

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, linked with Stoke, has yet to find a new club, while utility man Emmanuel Eboue is expected to sign for Galatasaray.

Another high-value player seemingly on the move is Samuel Eto'o, who is set to go to the newly wealthy Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala rather than Manchester City, according to the Internazionale chief executive Ernesto Paolillo. With Eto'o bringing in a large fee, the Italian said Wesley Sneijder would stay at Inter, and disavowed any interest in Carlos Tevez.

The Cameroon striker had been the subject of a possible exchange deal with City's Tevez, but it now appears he will be going to the Dagestan-based side instead. "Eto'o is leaving," Paolillo said yesterday, "he is going to the Russian club" -- though the player's agent said only that "we have practically agreed things with Anzhi."

Irish Independent

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