Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has claimed the Catalan club are in negotiations to sign Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.Fabregas is a long-time target for Barca and has repeatedly told of his dream to one day return to the club where he began his career.
Barca are back in pre-season training and have yet to make any signings.
While Guardiola admitted that Chile forward Alexis Sanchez is his priority, he also revealed the reigning La Liga and Champions League holders are in talks to sign Fabregas.
“It is scary the amount of games we have to play,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Last year we were interested in Cesc but Arsenal didn’t place him on the market. This year they have agreed to negotiate and that’s what we’re doing. Market prices are what they are but we have in the end that everything will be sorted out.”
Barcelona announced earlier in the off-season that they would only have around 45 million euros to spend in the current window, but president Sandro Rosell later clarified that the Catalan club could use some of next year’s budget to sign players.
“There is some money in a box (set aside) for this player and we will try until the last day to bring Cesc because he will make our squad better,” Guardiola said.
Fabregas has been encouraged to return to Spain by Barcelona players Xavia and Dani Alves, but Guardiola believes the 24-year-old must be respectful to Arsenal.
“I think Cesc has to do what Arsenal ask him. I wouldn’t like it if a player from this institution stood up and said, ‘I am not going to train anymore because I want to leave’,” he said.
“When he is fit, (Arsene) Wenger will play him. He has spoken to his coach and his club and if he has the possibility to leave, he would like to come to Barca.”
Guardiola also ruled out a summer move for midfielder Thiago Alcantara, even if Fabregas joins the Catalan club.
Some reports had suggested the Spain Under-21 star could be sold but the player signed a new long-term contract in June, raising his release clause from 10 million to 50 millon euros.
“One doesn’t have anything to do with the other,” the Barca coach said when asked about Fabregas and Thiago.
“Thiago has endless personality. He is a very daring boy with a lot of talent, but he has a lot of (first-team) competition.”
“He has a very big future and we will try to give him the minutes (he needs) for his potential to explode. Now he is worth a lot of money.”