Monday 19 March 2018

Villa on brink as Barca wait on Fabregas

Barcelona hope to add Cesc Fabregas to their ranks as soon as possible. Photo: Getty Images
Barcelona hope to add Cesc Fabregas to their ranks as soon as possible. Photo: Getty Images

Barcelona reached agreement with Valencia for Spain striker David Villa today and hope to add Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to their ranks "as soon as possible".

The Spanish champions confirmed Los Che had accepted an offer of 40 million euros this morning for Villa, who will - subject to a medical on Friday - sign a four-year contract with an option for a further 12 months.

Villa could soon be joined in the Catalan capital by Spain team-mate Fabregas, who revealed last week at a promotional event in Barcelona that he would like to return to the club.

Sporting director Txiki Begiristain has welcomed Fabregas' desire to return to Barca, where he played in the youth ranks before joining Arsenal in 2003, but accepts the Gunners will have the final say on whether the move comes to fruition.

He told club website "It's great news that he wants to come here and I think that one day Cesc will have to come to Barca.

"But what matters is Arsenal and what their decision is.

"They think he is a very important player for them.

"We have to respect that.

"At times the wishes of players do not come true because they are under contract.

"That he says that he wants to come to Barca is a synonym that things are being done well here.

"I don't know when but I have the impression that he is a Barca (style) player and that he will enjoy it very much.

"I hope it is as soon as possible.

"But we have to respect Arsenal's wishes and the contract he has."

The 23-year-old is under contract at Arsenal until June 2014.

Villa, too, was committed to Los Che for the next four years, however.

The 28-year-old had long been linked with a move away from the Mestalla to ease the club's financial worries, with Barca among the top clubs reportedly interested last summer.

A Barcelona statement today read: "FC Barcelona and Valencia CF closed a 40 million euro deal for Spanish striker David Villa on Wednesday morning.

"The Spanish international is due in Barcelona on Thursday evening and will have a medical on Friday morning.

"Villa will be officially unveiled as a Barca player at 1330 in the Paris Room of the Camp Nou.

"He'll then make an appearance on the Camp Nou pitch. The stadium doors will be opened to the public."

Villa scored 107 goals in 166 league matches for Valencia after establishing himself with Real Zaragoza.

He is a regular in Spain's first team and was the top goalscorer in his country's triumphant Euro 2008 campaign.

Villa's arrival is likely to lead to increased speculation over the futures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry.

Outgoing president Joan Laporta yesterday claimed the club were "satisfied" with the 21-goal contribution of Ibrahimovic in his first season since arriving from Inter Milan last summer.

Henry appears on the verge of a move to Major League Soccer, with Laporta also revealing there was "a lot of interest" in the France forward from the United States.

Yaya Toure is another to be linked with a move away from the Nou Camp, with Manchester City and Arsenal possible destinations, and Begiristain has not ruled out the Ivory Coast international leaving if he so wishes.

"He is an extraordinary and important player," said the sporting director.

"The question is how he sees things. He has to accept the role.

"We're counting on him for next season but the thing is the players have to accept their position. (Sergio) Busquets, Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta and (Seydou) Keita are all playing fantastically well.

"In the end you have to face up to the competition and you may not play as much as you would imagine.

"The player has to be the first to admit that. If they do that's great for us. If they don't accept it and want to discuss it, we have an obligation. We'll never keep a player here who doesn't want to be here."

Bojan Krkic looks to be one man certain to be staying put, though.

When asked if the teenager would remain at the Nou Camp, Begiristain replied: "Definitely.

"Bojan has his difficulties but he's only 19. He's patient and we are even more so. We're very patient. I'm pleased he's been patient because he could be the Barca number nine very soon."

Press Association

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