Arsenal and Man Utd on alert as Fabregas hints at Barca exit
Spanish midfielder keen on move back to Premier League: Drogba key to Gunners' Llorente deal
It's becoming a regular feature of the English summer, just like Wimbledon and cricket fixing, and this year the future of Cesc Fabregas looks set to dominate the transfer rumours once again.
After his protracted move from Arsenal to Barcelona in 2011, he was the subject of a 'will-he-won't-he' saga last year as Manchester United tried, and failed, to lure him back to England. This time round, according to the Daily Telegraph it is the player who is making the running.
The paper says Fabregas is "concerned that Barca will try to push him out" this summer after a relatively unsuccessful season ended with the arrival of a new manager and the prospect of a new broom at the Camp Nou.
The player is understood to prefer the Premier League if he does decide to move on, and that has alerted Man United, Man City, Chelsea and, of course, Arsenal. The Gunners have a buy-back clause on Fabgregas and if he tells Barca he wants to move to the Emirates then the Arsenal can re-sign him for around £25m. Fabregas's wage demands are no longer too much for the Gunners, says the paper, but it is unclear where he would fit into the team, three years after his departure.
A more likely destination is Man United says the Telegraph. The player almost moved to Old Trafford last year and would be happy to play alongside Robin van Persie again.
Yaya Toure's antics mean Man City are likely to be after a new midfield general and a swap deal could be on the cards for them, as Toure's preferred choice of club would apparently be Barca. Meanwhile, a similar switch, this time involving Chelsea's David Luiz, another Barca target, could see Fabregas end up at Stamford Bridge.
The chances of Arsenal landing an A-list striker this summer could hinge on ageing hitman Didier Drogba. That's according to Caughtoffside,com, which claims an exclusive with the news that Juventus are "on the verge" of signing the 36-year-old Drogba on a free transfer from Turkish outfit Galatasaray and that if the deal goes ahead then Arsenal will "be able to make a move for" long-term target Fernando Llorente.
Apparently Juventus see Drogba's age as no barrier and envisage the Ivory Coast star forming a deadly duo with Carlos Tevez. Having signed Droga, the Italian champions will offload Llorente just 12 months after he signed from Athletic Bilbao. The Spanish international, who netted 18 times in 42 appearances for Juventus, will be sold to the Gunners "for a cut price fee", sure to delight Arsene Wenger who's known to be tighter than the completion deadline for a World Cup stadium in Brazil.
The news concerning Llorente comes as Swansea issue a 'hands-off' warning over Michu. The Spanish striker has been linked to both Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks, but the Daily Express reports that the Swans are "set to reject" all approaches for the 28-year-old. Rumours began circulating last week to the effect that Garry Monk has transfer listed Michu, prompting the Swansea boss to issue a strongly-worded denial. "He has definitely not been put up for sale by anyone at this club, me, the chairman or anyone," declared Monk. "Our only discussion about Michu is getting him back to fitness and making sure he's on the pitch for Swansea and scoring goals... we want him here at the club."
Still with Arsenal and the Evening Standard reports that Lukasz Fabianski is "set to snub" Arsenal and his affectionate 'Flappyhandski' nickname in search of more regular game time and supporters who aren't terrified of him. The paper says it has it on good authority that the 29-year-old gaffe-prone gloveman is being courted by a number of English teams having rebuffed all attempts by the Gunners to extend his contract. Among the teams allegedly chasing the Pole are Newcastle, Cardiff, West Ham, Swansea and Leicester. Fabianski, who joined Arsenal from Legia Warsaw in a £2.1m deal in the summer of 2007, is also being monitored by clubs from France and Italy.
Talking of shotstoppers, Goal.com says that Atletico Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois has dropped another hint that he sees his future in Spain. On loan from Chelsea for the past three seasons, the Belgian is wanted by the Blues next season but the 21-year-old hopes to stay at Madrid for another spell. "I have the biggest respect for Petr Cech," Courtois said of the current Chelsea No1. "He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world so I think putting him and me in the same team is not the healthiest thing in the world," he explained.
Asked where he saw his future next season, he replied: "We will see in the next week if we can sit together with Chelsea to find something for next year, find out what they want, what my desire is. We will see... things are unclear at the moment."