Chelsea grab Fabregas, Sagna signs for City, Arsenal eye Reina
Special One upstages World Cup with £30m transfer coup, but Gunners also profit from shock deal
They call him the Special One for a reason and Jose Mourinho lived up to his billing as he did his best to upstage the opening of the World Cup by announcing the signing of Cesc Fabregas on Thursday. The sensational news was revealed on the official Chelsea website with the club proclaiming its pride in signing the Barcelona reject on a five-year contract.
"I would like to thank everyone at FC Barcelona where I enjoyed three wonderful years," said Fabregas. "It was my childhood club and I will always be proud and honoured that I had a chance to play for such a great team." As for his reasons in returning to the Premier League, where he enjoyed eight largely unsuccessful seasons with Arsenal, at least in terms of winning silverware, the 27-year-old playmaker said: "I do feel that I have unfinished business in the Premier League and now is the right time to return."
Saying that he received several offers, all of which he studied "very carefully", Fabregas added: "I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice. They match my footballing ambitions with their hunger and desire to win trophies."
How he gets on with Mourinho, however, remains to be seen. As the Daily Telegraph recalls, Fabregas "famously told Mourinho to 'shut up' and mind his own business" after the Chelsea manager criticised Barcelona last season.
As for Arsenal, Metro reports the Gunners will be happy to see Fabregas sign for the Blues in what is to be believed a £30m deal. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger turned down the chance to take Fabregas back when Barcelona began hawking the midfielder around Europe, but according to Metro Chelsea will "have to pay Arsenal £5m" as a result of a clause they had inserted in Fabregas's contract when he left for Barcelona three years ago entitling them to a slice of the pie when he left the Nou Camp.
There's more bad news for Gunners fans as it was confirmed today that former full-back Bacary Sagna has carried on the ancient Arsenal tradition of signing for Manchester City. The 31-year-old defender, whose Arsenal contract expired at the end of the season, has signed a three-year deal at the Etihad, reports the BBC.
And after Fabregas is another Arsenal has-been on his way out of the Camp Nou? The Daily Star certainly thinks so, and says that Barcelona have told Alex Song "he is free to leave the club this summer". Like so many players who believe the grass is greener on pitches other than the Emirates, things haven't worked out for the Cameroon star in Spain since leaving the Emirates in 2012.
Though Song would be happy to slink back to Arsenal with his tail between his legs, Wenger is not so keen on the idea and instead the Star predicts the midfielder could head to Old Trafford to team up with Marouane Fellaini, another player who perhaps should have stayed where he was in the first place.
At last, some news of a player who may be on his way to the Emirates, rather than away from it. Metro claims that Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina could be the subject of a £5m bid from Arsene Wenger. The keeper spent last season on loan at Napoli, but they have yet to express an interest in making the deal permanent.
With the Gunners looking for fresh options in the goalkeeping department, Metro suggests that Reina could be the man to offer Wojciech Szczesny some competition between the sticks.
Finally, Talksport claims the Gunners could "take advantage of Napoli's faltering relations" with Lyon to rekindle their interest France international Maxime Gonalons. The Italian club were believed to be on the brink of signing the French midfielder but Talksport says the two clubs have fallen out, with neither able to agree a fee, and consequently Arsenal are set to step into the breach with a £14m offer for the 25-year-old Gonalons.