Barcelona intend to push Arsenal’s resolve all the way through the remaining six weeks of the transfer window in their drawn out battle to bring the Gunners captain back to the Nou Camp.
There has been no formal statement from the Gunners or indeed Fabregas himself, but despite manager Arsene Wenger’s personal determination to keep hold of his key man, possibly even under improved terms, it appears inevitable the Spain international will leave Emirates Stadium sooner rather than later.
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood maintains no improved offer had been lodged from Barcelona’s initial £26m enquiry at the start of the summer, which falls way short of the London club’s £45m valuation.
However, Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola claims money has been set aside to push through the deal and that this time, Arsenal are open to negotiation.
Whatever transpires, with the future of contract rebel Samir Nasri – said to be set for a £20m switch to Manchester City – also not yet resolved, Arsenal fans and Wenger alike face a testing final few weeks of the transfer window.
“They have agreed to negotiate and we will try to reach an agreement,” Guardiola said at a news conference yesterday.
“There is money set aside for this player and until the last day we will try to bring in Cesc because he will make the squad better.
“I hope that something can be sorted. Until August 31 there is time, but at times things don’t always work out.”
Fabregas did not take part in Arsenal’s Asia tour, remaining behind in London to work on his fitness following a hamstring problem.
The World Cup winner may not also be included for Saturday’s friendly in Cologne, but new signing Gervinho could make the trip to Germany after finally completing his £11m move from Lille.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains Wenger still has plenty of funds available should he wish to spend them.
The Gunners have been expected to bring in some more defensive cover, with Germany international Per Mertesacker and Bolton’s England defender Gary Cahill reported targets, while Valencia midfielder Juan Mata and Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanic, at Lyon, are both possible additions should Fabregas leave.
One deal, though, which looks set to have fallen by the wayside is for promising Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell.
The 19-year-old was all set for a £900,000 move from Deportivo Saprissa.
However, it now appears talks have broken down with the youngster’s representatives.
Saprissa president Juan Carlos Rojas told La Nacion newspaper: “It is a disappointment for football, for Saprissa and for me that they have decided not to take up an offer from as serious and first-class people as Arsenal. I hope it works out for Joel.
“I assume his father thinks that things will get better and that’s why he made this decision, but hey, there’s always a risk. It’s a shame that Costa Rican football could not have a player at Arsenal at this time.”