Fabregas heads back to Arsenal with Barca deal in balance
Published 00:00 04/07/11 By John Cross
Cesc Fabregas reports back to Arsenal today with Barcelona still haggling over his move to the Nou Camp.
The Gunners skipper was hoping the deal would be signed and sealed by now.
He was not expecting to return after holidaying in Spain – but has been ordered to fly to London.
Fabregas, 24, will undergo a series of fitness tests and is expected to be ready when pre-season training resumes fully tomorrow.
Barcelona’s big test will be to try to complete the transfer before Arsene Wenger’s men fly to Kuala Lumpur next weekend for the start of their Far East tour. The Catalan giants – who last week made an improved second bid of £34million – must come up with even more cash to meet Arsenal’s demands.
But there is a stumbling block causing an ugly stand-off.
Wenger signed Barca 16-year-olds Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin this summer after they turned down new contracts at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona are fuming and have thrown the issue into the Fabregas equation, saying they won’t report Arsenal to FIFA over the matter and will withdraw a claim of £350,000 on each player, providing Fabregas comes their way.
That has enraged the Londoners, who insist they have done nothing wrong.
And it is only likely to fuel their determination to drive a hard bargain for their prize asset.
Wenger meets Samir Nasri today in a last-ditch effort to persuade him to sign a new contract.
But there is a growing feeling that Arsenal will sell Nasri – with both Manchester clubs keen – rather than let him run down his contract.
Wenger would prefer to move the 24-year-old to Inter Milan.