BARCELONA - Barcelona are ready to fight
to bring Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas back to the club right up
until the transfer deadline on August 31, coach Pep Guardiola said
Barca are in talks with Arsenal to buy the Spain midfielder,
a long-term target for the Spanish and European champions,
Guardiola, flanked by sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, told
a news conference.
"This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are
working on it," Guardiola said.
"Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have
time until August 31 and we'll try to reach an agreement," added
"There is a sum of money in the strong box set aside for
this signing but if it doesn't work out it will be kept in the
box for something else.
"We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we
believe he will improve the team and the squad."
Fabregas, 24, came through Barcelona's youth academy at the
same time as World Player of the Year Lionel Messi before
joining Arsenal in 2003 at the age of 16.
He discussed his situation with Arsenal manager Arsene
Wenger when he returned for pre-season training this month and
did not join his team-mates on a tour of Asia due to injury.
Wenger is trying to convince Fabregas there would be no
greater achievement for him than to lead Arsenal to success and
that it is not the right time for him to leave England.
Guardiola said that despite the push to land Fabregas, his
priority was to sign a forward and Zubizarreta said the club
were close to completing the purchase of Chile striker Alexis
Sanchez from Serie A side Udinese.
Barca were also on the verge of selling striker Bojan Krkic
to AS Roma, who have hired former Barca B coach Luis Enrique to
lead them for the coming season, Zubizarreta added.
"As we understand it we are in the final stages of the
negotiations [to sign Sanchez] and an agreement will happen very
soon," former Barca and Spain goalkeeper Zubizarreta said.
"But I would have said the same thing this time last week.
As in a good film, it seems sometimes the end takes a little
longer," he added.
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