On his way?
With the transfer window opening in Spain on Friday, The Guardian reports that Fabregas is keen to finalise a move to Barcelona before he has to report back to Arsenal for pre-season training next week.
Several sources also believe Barca have upped their bid to £35million rising to around £40million with incentives, in order to prise Arsenal’s fingers from their captain.
While Arsenal fans may initially be distraught at losing their skipper, there is every reason to believe this will work out very well for the Gunners…
The sale of Nicolas Anelka for £22.3million to Real Madrid having bought him for just £500,000 two seasons before is often seen as one of Wenger’s masterstrokes. Not only did Anelka fail to shine in Spain, but Wenger brought in Thierry Henry as a replacement for around £11million – under half what he received for Anelka.
Arsenal took a big financial risk by hanging on to Fabregas last summer when he wanted to go to Barcelona and the Gunners will surely have to take the cash this time – especially with FC Barcelona’s Vice President of the Finance Department, Javier Faus, admitting cutting Barca’s large debts are now a priority.
Barca are far from floundering, but, if all the incentives are met and the fee for Fabregas rises to £40million, then that would make him the sixth most expensive player in the history of the game – a significant outlay for Barca and one they may not be willing to make in another year.
Perhaps the best point of reference for the true value of Fabregas would be the transfer of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. After winning the Champions League and playing over 200 games for Liverpool, the Spaniard was sold to Real for £30million.
Mesut Özil was also sold to Real for €15million last summer (admittedly he was in the last year of his contract), while Champions League winner Wesley Sneijder could allegedly be prised away from Inter Milan for around £30million.
For Arsenal, £35-£40million for their skipper might turn out to be a brilliant deal.