Cesc Fabregas has given the clearest indication yet that this season was his last at Arsenal
Speaking at Spain's training camp in Madrid he revealed that after that heart-to-heart with Arsene Wenger in which he expressed his desire to return to Barcelona he was told by the coach he idolises, “leave everything to me”.
Fabregas said: “I had a long conversation with Arsene.
“It was probably the greatest conversation I've had with someone in my life.
“I respect him so much and I don't want to say too much about it but he told me to concentrate on my football and on the World Cup and to leave it in his hands. So that is what I am doing.
“He will deal with whatever happens in my future and I'm just concentrating on football.”
Having just asked his manager for a move the fact that Fabregas was reassured by Wenger's response would indicate that the Arsenal boss intends to respect his captain's wishes but only after he has squeezed every last euro out of Barcelona — be that with the out-going president Joan Laporta or the more-than-likely new incumbent Sandro Rosell — and properly lined-up Fabregas' replacement.
That interpretation corresponds with comments made by Fabregas' father Francesc two days ago in which he said: “At the moment he has a contract with Arsenal.
“I get the feeling they don't want to sell him but that they will give in eventually.”
The last time Fabregas appeared before cameras in Spain just over a week ago he appeared openly excited about the prospect of making Barcelona his next club, enthusiastically confirming that he would only leave the Gunners to return to the side he supported as a boy.
This time the emotion was all directed at his supporters in North London.
He said: “I will say only one thing —I have got massive respect for Arsene Wenger, Arsenal football club and the Arsenal fans. Even in my own house, I have not felt as loved as I have at Arsenal.”
Fabregas also said he deeply regretted missing the most important part of last season because he was playing well enough to lead Arsenal to a trophy.
He added: “It was really disappointing to miss the last two months because we were fighting for the league and the Champions League and I felt I was in the best form of my career.”
Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he would not pay over the odds for Fabregas. “The Cesc operation that we want to do is very complex,” he said. “There is an open line of communication with the people at Arsenal who we have known for many years. I have not said that I wanted the deal done before June 30. It will take time and I will not pay over the top just so that it can be done while I am still the president.”
Barcelona will install a new president on June 14 but Laporta does not officially leave office until the last day of the month.
Manchester City and Chelsea have meanwhile been told that they can have striker Sergio Kun Aguero without even negotiating if they put 60m euros into Atletico Madrid coffers.
The Argentine striker has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and president Enrique Cerezo made reference to Spain's system of setting buy-out clauses that if adhered to leave a club with no option but to sell.
“I want to make it clear once again that players have contracts with a buy-out clause, and that has a determined sum of money (60m euros in the case of Aguero) and if a club wants the player and he wants to go then they don't even have to come and see us they just put the money in the bank and that is the end of it,” he explained.
Atletico coach Quique Sanches Flores seemed to pave the way for Aguero's exit when he said: “There are many ways to build a team. Either with or without him we will have a great side and the fans should not be concerned.”