Arsenal are prepared to sell Cesc Fabregas, the club captain, to Barcelona this summer – provided that the two clubs can agree on a suitable price for the Spain international midfielder.
The Gunners have already rejected one offer this summer for their skipper, believed to be in the region of £27m, and are braced for another offer to come their way from the European champions, who according to sources in Spain, have begun talks with a leading European sports agency over maximising Fabregas’ commercial appeal should he head for Camp Nou.
Of the opening offer, a senior Arsenal official told BBC Sport: “The offer was made formally in writing to our chief executive (Ivan Gazidis), and we said no straight away.”
Upon being asked if the club expected an improved offer to be forthcoming this week, the source added: “Possibly yes, and if it’s enough then I expect we’ll have to sell.”
Fabregas left the Barcelona academy at La Masia as a 16-year-old to move to North London, believing that first-team opportunities would be more readily available. Since leaving Los Cules, Fabregas has emerged as one of the best midfielders in world football and has been linked with his boyhood club more and more in recent years.
Last summer the Gunners rejected two offers for their captain, but would appear more open to offers this time around. However, whilst Arsenal value their playmaker at more than £40m, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has suggested that he will not be willing to spend more than £35m on their former trainee, believing that the players recent injury problems have decreased his value.
Those injury struggles, added to the emergence at the Emirates Stadium of England midfielder Jack Wilshere, and the likely arrival of Velez Sarsfield’s attacking midfielder Ricardo Alvarez, may see Wenger ready to cash in on Fabregas, especially if he can add the talented youngster Thiago Alcantara into the bargain.
However, the Arsenal manager would be loathe to allow Fabregas to leave if he cannot first agree a new contract with Samir Nasri, the French playmaker. Nasri has one year remaining on his deal, and Wenger will not want to allow his two most creative players both to leave.