Wenger and Fabregas set for showdown talks
Published 22:30 24/07/10 By Steve Stammers
Arsene Wenger will hold showdown talks with Cesc Fabregas next week to decide the Spanish midfield star’s future.
Fabregas has been linked with a move to his native Barcelona all summer – but the Catalan club have so far failed to increase their initial offer of £30million.
Arsenal would want at least £20 million more than that – or as a club insider said: “It would need to be a massive – and I mean massive – bid for the club to consider it.”
Manager Wenger now wants to speak to his captain before the Premier League season gets underway.
The likelihood is that an agreement will be reached which will enable Fabregas to move next summer if he fully commits himself to Arsenal for the coming season.
Wenger knows that although his position is in no jeopardy and that he will be offered a new contract to extend his current one that runs until October 2011, he must soon start to win silverware after a five year drought.
The last trophy to come to Arsenal was in 2005 when they won the FA Cup after a penalty shoot-out against Manchester United.
If that run is to be brought to an end – with the Premier League and the Champions League the priorities – Wenger knows that his chances will be significantly increased with the presence of Fabregas.
He is aware that the player longs to return to the club from where he was prised as a teenager by Arsenal for a mere £750,000.
But Wenger also recognises that his captain has a major role to play for the Gunners in the coming season.
Significantly, Fabregas is coming back early to the club after his efforts for new world champions Spain in South Africa.
He and Holland international Robin van Persie were not due back until August 9 following their exertions in the World Cup.
But both will now be back at The Emirates next week ahead of Thursday’s official club photo-call.
Wenger will take advantage of that return to speak at length with Fabregas and attempt to convince him that he will be a key player for Arsenal next season. He will also want to be satisfied that Fabregas has dealt with all the overtures and invitations that have been coming his way from Barcelona stars and officials.
Wenger knows Fabregas will have to concentrate on his football if he’s to play a key role with Arsenal.
The price the Gunners must pay for their two stars reaching the final will be illustrated on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Neither are likely to have the necessary sharpness to start against Roy Hodgson’s new-look Liverpool side at Anfield with less than a fortnight of pre-season preparation work under their belts.
Wenger is hoping to have one more new face in the squad photo – that of Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Arsenal are willing to pay £2.5 million for the 37-year-old Australian international and the deal looked set to materialize until Martin Jol withdrew from the race to be Hodgson’s successor.
Fulham have put all transfer deals on ice until they appoint a new man and that could take at least another two weeks.
The front runners are Mark Hughes and Sven Goran Eriksson although there is a lobby of support at Fulham for Alan Curbishley.