Barca delegation flying into London today to put an end to Cesc saga
Published 22:59 19/07/11 By John Cross
Barcelona are flying in to London today to thrash out a deal for Cesc Fabregas.
It comes after Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola claimed yesterday that they have got enough money in a "strong box" to sign the Arsenal captain and that he is desperate to make it happen.
The Barcelona delegation are set to make Arsenal an improved offer for Fabregas within the next 24 hours and are confident of getting their man.
Guardiola said: "This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are working on it. Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have time until August 31 and we'll try to reach an agreement.
"There is a sum of money in the strong box set aside for this signing but if it doesn't work out it will be kept in the box for something else.
"We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad."
But Guardiola's comments are unlikely to please Arsenal as they will not enter into negotiations unless Barcelona meet their £40m asking price.
Arsenal are also not prepared to wait until August 31 before brokering any deal and Arsene Wenger has made it clear he wants the saga resolved as soon as possible so he can make his own plans for next season.
That means realistically Barcelona - who have already had a firm bid of £27m and two further approaches knocked back - will have to make their move this week to stand a chance of completing the protracted deal before the end of the month.
Fabregas, 24, has made it plain to Arsenal boss Wenger that he wants to join Barca which leaves the Gunners in a difficult position but they are also determined not to be bullied into selling on the cheap.
Therefore, Fabregas, who is still not training fully with the rest of his team mates after a hamstring injury, will be forced to stay at Arsenal unless Barcelona come up with the cash shortly.
Fabregas is almost certain now to miss Arsenal's friendly in Cologne on Saturday as he insists he is not fully fit and is also waiting on Barcelona to make their next move.
Wenger is trying to line up replacements for Fabregas but his insistence that he will not sell midfielder Samir Nasri means a centre half is still his top priority and Arsenal are closing in on Bolton's Gary Cahill, although the £17m price is a sticking point.