Arsenal agree fee for Mata - and set Fabregas deadline
Published 23:01 28/07/11 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger is on the brink of breaking Arsenal’s transfer record to sign Juan Mata - and has got tough over Cesc Fabregas.
Wenger last night agreed a £17million deal with Valencia for Mata - and has also made an increased £13m bid for Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
But while Arsenal are finally set to start spending big this summer, they are also turning up the heat on Barcelona over the Fabregas transfer saga.
The Gunners' captain will not play in this weekend’s Emirates Cup - as revealed by the Mirror - and Arsenal have told Barca to make a deal at £40m or call it off.
Wenger is believed to have set a deadline of August 5 in an e-mail sent to Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, so the Frenchman can start planning for the coming season.
Arsenal are braced for Fabregas' exit, but are fed-up of being kept waiting by Barca.
Fabregas is equally frustrated and is desperate to force the deal through.
The Spanish midfielder has missed much of the pre-season because of a hamstring injury and has been training with the youth team this week.
He has told Wenger he wants to leave and may resort to a transfer request to get a deal done.
For their part, Arsenal are planning for life after Fabregas.
The deal for Mata, 23, represents a great coup, even though it easily tops the £12m paid for Andrey Arshavin in 2009.
Spain winger Mata is one of the most sought-after talents in Europe and is keen to join Arsenal following talks between the clubs.
Wenger went back with an improved offer for Jagielka after seeing a £10m bid for the centre-half knocked back two weeks ago, but Everton want at least £15m.
If they can’t wrap up Jagielka, Arsenal may go back for Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill.
Mata’s arrival may mean Arshavin is allowed to go, with Galatasaray keen, while Sporting Lisbon have made a bid for unsettled striker Nicklas Bendtner, however it falls well short of Arsenal’s £12m valuation and the Portuguese outfit would also struggle to meet his £52,000-a-week wages.
Meanwhile, winger Theo Walcott has been given the all-clear after an MRI scan on his nagging ankle injury.
He does not need an operation, just a few days of rehabilitation.