Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas gets ready to say goodbye against Aston Villa
Barcelona to make new bid for Gunners’ captain
ARSENAL supporters may get their last glimpse of Cesc Fabregas in an Arsenal shirt this weekend as Barcelona prepare to make a renewed offer for the Gunners captain.
The Spanish giants failed with a �35m bid for their former player last summer, but are confident they will succeed at the second time of asking.
Fabregas has missed the last two Gunners games with a thigh injury, but could recover in time for Sunday’s final home game of the season against Aston Villa.
And that could turn into his farewell to the Arsenal faithful, almost eight years after joining from Barcelona as a 16-year-old in 2003.
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The Catalan giants have made no secret of their continued interest in a player they regard as one of their own, and are hoping to begin negotiations with the player after the Champions League final against Manchester United at Wembley on May 28.
Arsene Wenger and the club’s board blocked the sale of Fabregas last July, and the player is under contract at the Emirates until 2015.
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Wenger has reiterated that stance this month and denied that Fabregas will depart. “Why should we sell Cesc? We have built a team around Cesc and we have now Jack Wilshere as well. We want to keep doing that.
“The players who are under contract here will be not be sold unless we want to sell them.”
But they are now ready to accept defeat in their battle to keep their captain, with the last straw being his criticism of his manager and the club’s transfer policy last month.
Fabregas, 24, openly questioned Wenger’s methods and although both the player and his manager have since denounced the validity of those words in an interview with a Spanish magazine, the feeling persists that their paths will divide this summer after six seasons without winning a trophy.
“From 2007 on I started to say, ‘We don’t win but we play very well’, said Fabregas in his interview with Don Balon magazine. “After that, you realise it doesn’t work. You enjoy it during a part of the season, like this year, when we were in four different competitions.
“And you say, ‘here, I have it all’, but then you cannot make the final step and it is here where a decision has to be made: to go out to win or to develop players.”
Wenger has refused to criticise his captain in return but did intimate that the pressure of leading Arsenal at such a young age – he has been captain since he was 21 – had taken its toll on his midfield star.
“Cesc puts too much pressure on himself,” said Wenger. “It is too much for him at his age. He is a winner, he is desperate to win the games. And, of course, when it does not work, he is frustrated.
“But he is the captain of the team and [Robin] Van Persie is vice-captain and they both put a lot of pressure on themselves.”
The Gunners boss admitted that Fabregas ‘has a chance’ to be fit for Sunday’s game against Villa at the Emirates, with his side still hoping to finish as runners-up in the Premier League behind champions-elect Manchester United. Arsenal finish their campaign with a trip to Fulham on May 22.