Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gunners Still in Cesc Battle; Barcelona Insist They Have the Funds for Fabregas

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gunners Still in Cesc Battle; Barcelona Insist They Have the Funds for Fabregas

Article excerpt

ARSENAL continue to face a battle to hold onto captain Cesc Fabregas - with Barce-lona boss Pep Guardiola vowing the Champions League holders will fight to the end to bring their former trainee back to the Nou Camp.

While there has been no formal statement from the Gunners and despite manager Arsene Wenger's determination to keep hold of his key man, possibly even under improved terms, it seems inevitable Fabregas will leave before the transfer window shuts on August 31.

But whether or not Barcelona will be able to stump up the pounds 45million Arsenal demand for their 24-year-old skipper remains unclear, with Guardiola claiming money was set aside for the deal. Nonetheless, Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood maintaining no improved offer had been lodged from the Spaniard's initial pounds 26million enquiry.

Whatever transpires, with the future of contract rebel Samir Nasri also not yet resolved, Arsenal fans and Wenger alike face a testing final few weeks of the transfer window.

Guardiola said yesterday: "They have agreed to negotiate and we will try to reach an agreement. 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 (pictured right) did not join Arsenal's Asia tour, staying in London to work on his fitness after 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 pounds 11m move from Lille despite interest from Newcastle.

And Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains that Wenger still has plenty of funds available should he wish to spend them. …

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