BARCELONA midfielder Sergio Busquets admits the Spaniards could be fighting a losing battle to lure Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas back to the Nou Camp before the start of the new season.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has now returned to work at the Barclays Premier League club’s Hertfordshire training base after his stint as a pundit for French television at the World Cup, running the rule over new signings Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny.
While he was away, Wenger was dogged by continued speculation linking the Arsenal skipper with a return to his boyhood club.
Although Fabregas made it clear to Wenger before departing to South Africa his heart was set on a transfer, Arsenal have no intention of selling their star man, rebuffing one £30million (€36m) bid for a player who has five years left of a lucrative deal still to run.
Both Barcelona’s new president Sandro Rosell and a string of players, many of whom are international team-mates of the World Cup winner, have voiced their desire for Fabregas — who was forced into a Barcelona shirt during Spain’s victory celebrations in Madrid — to complete a move ‘home’.
However, Arsenal look set to stand firm in their determination to retain Fabregas’ services for at least one more season, while the player himself, who has been given some extra time off, remains coy about his intentions.
Barcelona may have been forced to take out a €155m loan to ease their financial problems, but Rosell claims there is still cash to spend despite the big-money purchase of David Villa, given both defender Dmitro Chygrynskiy and Yaya Toure, who joined Manchester City, have been sold.
Barcelona last night claimed they have €50 million to spend this summer.
“The club has approximately €50m net to spend on new players each season,’’ said a statement on the club’s website.
“In the case of this season, buying David Villa combined with the sales of Yaya Toure and Dmytro Chygrynskiy balance themselves out. This means the club still has €50m to spend.’’
Whether or not the Spaniards can potentially match the £60m (€72m) figure which would probably be needed for Arsenal to even ponder contemplating Fabregas’ sale, remains to be seen.
Busquets, who played alongside Fabregas for Spain at the World Cup, feels Barcelona may, for now at least, have to accept Fabregas is going nowhere.
“Cesc is a great player that would add a lot to the team,” he said, “but we have to respect that he is owned by another club that is not Barcelona, that he is an Arsenal player and, for the time being, there’s nothing to be done.”
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