Arsenal loses grip on Fabregas

Arsenal announced on Sunday that they have finally agreed a deal with Barcelona for the transfer of captain Cesc Fabregas to the Spanish and European champions, the player’s boyhood club.

“Arsenal announces today that they have reached an agreement in principle with Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas to move to Spain,” said a statement on the Arsenal website.

Barcelona confirmed the deal, news of which was released at half-time in their Spanish Supercup clash against Real Madrid, which is expected to be worth between €36-million and €40-million.

“Initial agreement between Arsenal and FC Barcelona for the transfer of Cesc with the signing of contracts and medical to take place on Monday,” said a Barcelona club statement.

The deal, which brings to an end a transfer saga which began last year, will take Fabregas back to the club which he left as a 16-year-old in 2003.

“We have been clear that we didn’t want Cesc to leave and that remains the case,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Sunday.

“However, we understand Cesc’s desire to move to his home town club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success,” Wenger added.

Barcelona had already failed with an offer of €34.4-million and an improved reported bid of €29-million plus €6-million in future add-ons had also failed to tempt the Gunners.

However, the British press over the weekend reported that Arsenal were finally ready to accept a €36-million offer, with Spanish sports daily Marca putting the deal closer to €40-million, of which €6-million would depend on results.

The midfielder spent eight years at Arsenal and made 303 appearances, scoring 57 goals in all competitions.

Named as Arsenal captain in November 2008, Fabregas also became a regular in the Spanish national team and has made 58 appearances to date.

‘We have got him’
Barcelona defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique had already anticipated the move on Friday when they sent messages on their Twitter accounts welcoming the player before any official announcement.

“Welcome home, happy to have you here @cesc4official,” Puyol tweeted, addressing his message to Cesc’s Twitter account. “@cesc4official, we have got him,” tweeted Pique.

Fabregas is expected to agree personal terms and undergo a medical on Monday.

Wenger left the player out of the side which drew 0-0 at Newcastle on Saturday.

He also over-looked Samir Nasri for Saturday’s league opener with the French international widely-expected to seal a move to Manchester City in the coming days. — AFP

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