Barcelona are ready to fight to bring the Arsenal captain Cesc Fábregas back to the club manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday.
Barça are in talks with Arsenal to buy the Spain midfielder, a long-term target for the Spanish and European champions, Guardiola 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 31 August and we’ll try to reach an agreement,” said the 40-year-old.
“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.”
Fábregas, 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 has discussed his situation with Arsenal manager Arsène 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 Fábregas 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.
However, Peter Hill-Wood, the Arsenal chairman, has questioned how “keen” Barcelona are in signing Fábregas, after no fresh bid was received by the club for the midfielder.
Hill-Wood said: “I am not sure how keen they are. There are still stories in the [Spanish] press, but they don’t talk to us. They’ve made one offer, which works out at around £26m, but that was ages ago.
“At the moment our situation is very straight forward: we don’t want to lose him. Obviously if they come up with an offer which was a very good offer we would have to think about it.
“We have told them [Barcelona] a number of times that what they are proposing is unacceptable and yet they haven’t moved on it. I don’t approve of what they are doing, but unfortunately it seems the way of the world right now. It has become a real bore and an unnecessary interruption to what we are trying to achieve.”
Regarding Samir Nasri, the French forward who is wanted by Manchester City, Hill-Wood stated that Arsenal do not want to lose him: “City seem to have more money than anybody else and they keep splashing it around all over the place. But our position is very straightforward: we don’t want the player to leave.”