New Barcelona president Sandro Rosell maintains the club will not be bullied into paying over the odds to prise Cesc Fabregas away from Arsenal this summer.
The Catalan club have made Fabregas their number one target after signing Spain striker David Villa earlier this summer and Rosell is still hopeful the midfielder will become his first capture as Barca president.
Rosell says Barca will not be held to ransom by Arsenal.
“We will never pay €50m or €60m for Cesc,” the Barca president told radio station RAC1.
Barcelona have already had a bid of €35m turned down by Arsenal for a player that came through the youth ranks at the Nou Camp before moving to north London aged 16.
It is thought the Catalans are now willing to pay €40m to buy back the midfielder, but Arsenal are in no hurry to sell.
In Barca’s favour, however, is the player’s desire to leave north London and return to the Nou Camp.
“The whole world knows he wants to come and that we want to sign him,” Rosell said.
But the Barca president regrets the club’s pursuit of Fabregas has become public.
“It’s a topic that has become so public and that’s the worst thing you can do with a transfer, because it makes the selling club raise their expectations and you end up paying over the odds,” he added.
Rosell, who formally succeeded Joan Laporta as president last week, will seek talks with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who is commentating for French television at the World Cup.
“I assure you I will try and talk with him in South Africa,” he said.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola is also out in South Africa at the moment and reportedly met up with Fabregas at Spain’s training camp at the weekend, while Rosell was pictured with members of the player’s family at the Moto GP in Catalonia this weekend.
While Fabregas may yet arrive this summer, another Barca midfielder, Yaya Toure, has already left the Nou Camp.
Toure joined Manchester City this week but Rosell revealed he wanted the midfielder to stay at Barca.
“We don’t know if it was his agent or his brother (City defender Kolo Toure) who pressured him to leave for City, but we tried (to get him to stay), although when a player is not 150% sure he wants to be at a club, it is better for everyone if they move on,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have recouped more funds thanks to the sale of Ukraine defender Dmitro Chygrynskiy to former club Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Catalan club have announced the sale of the defender, who made just 14 appearances in his sole season at the Nou Camp, for €15m.
That fee represents a €10m loss for Barca on a player who never truly adapted to life at the Nou Camp and who was the club’s fourth-choice centre-back last season following the return of Gabriel Milito from a long-term injury.
Chygrynskiy’s departure is not an indication the club has to sell this summer though.
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with a swift return to Serie A following a disappointing first season in La Liga after joining from Inter Milan.
But his agent is adamant he will fight for his place alongside Villa next season.
“What the player wants is what Barcelona wants,” said Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola to Gr Parlamento.
“Both parties have stated they don’t want a move to take place.
“The club has declared that it doesn’t want to transfer him (Ibrahimovic).
“I have always said that Zlatan will move when he decides to move.”