Wenger expects Fabregas back in an Arsenal shirt
Arsene Wenger expects to see Cesc Fabregas in an Arsenal shirt on Saturday.
Wenger will check on Fabregas’s fitness today and wants to resolve his future as soon as possible.
Fabregas missed Arsenal’s pre-season trip to the Far East with a hamstring injury and his on-off transfer to Barcelona has become an ugly saga.
But Wenger insists that he now wants Fabregas to be a part of his pre-season preparations with the Arsenal captain’s dream move to Barcelona hanging firmly in the balance.
Wenger and his squad landed back in London yesterday and their next friendly is in Cologne on Saturday which could see Fabregas back in an Arsenal shirt after it seemed certain he would join Barcelona.
“We will have to see how far he is with his injury. But normally, yes,” said Wenger when asked whether he would be involved on Saturday.
“He is not back in full training, he is back running on the pitch and the next step is to be back in full training. I will have to assess him on Monday.
“But of course he is in my plans. The problem is we face speculation from everywhere. But my target is the same, to keep the players and my desire to fight for that is the same.”
Fabregas seemed certain to leave this summer but – for the second summer running – Barcelona have failed to reach agreement with Arsenal.
Wenger does not want to sell but realistically would allow Fabregas to leave if he wants to go and – even more importantly – that the deal is right with Arsenal holding out for £40m.
But, despite Barcelona’s players queuing up to talk about how much they want Fabregas at the Nou Camp, the Spanish giants have been all talk and no action so far.
The saga is in danger of disrupting Wenger’s pre-season preparations and the Arsenal boss admitted last week he wants the matter “closed very quickly.”
Fabregas has also been left in limbo with Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola desperate to sign him while the president Sandro Rosell seemingly less enthusiastic to come up with the cash.
The power struggle at the Nou Camp has meant the transfer is in danger of playing out like last summer when Barcelona seemed likely to get their man but Arsenal drew a line in the sand and resolutely refused to sell.
Wenger, who last week accused Barcelona star Xavi of being “disrespectful” after talking about Fabregas, has also been left deeply annoyed by Roberto Mancini openly talking about his desire to sign Samir Nasri.
The frustration for Wenger is that at the start of Arsenal’s Far East tour he made it clear that Nasri – who only has one year left on his current deal – would be held to his contract and they wanted to keep Fabregas as well.
But despite going public on his stance over Nasri, Wenger was fuming that Manchester City are still publicly courting the French midfielder and the Arsenal boss wants the Premier League to intervene.
Arsenal suspect that Nasri – who has been offered a £90,000-a-week new contract to stay at the Emirates – has been “tapped-up” as City, Manchester United and Inter Milan have all gone for him this summer.
That has turned Nasri’s head and, with Arsenal determined to stay firm, he could leave on a free transfer next summer on a lucrative contract.
Wenger revealed he has spoken to Nasri and insisted he must stay but says it is time other Premier League clubs started respecting the rules when it comes to signing players from rival clubs.
“I have spoken to Samir, of course, because he is in a situation where he has only one year to go,” said Wenger. “But we’ve not spoken about Mancini’s statement.
“Things have changed in England and I believe it is important that we go back to normal behaviour on that front.
“The rules are the rules. They have certainly to be cleaned up, the rules, as well. We will have to see (if the rules have been broken).
“For us, at this period of the season, it is important that give importance to what matters to us. Frankly, it doesn’t take sleep away from me.
“I just think it is surprising that we have to face these kind of comments. You have never heard me say any word about a player.”
Nasri started and impressed in Arsenal’s second and final game in the Far East as they drew 1-1 with Chinese Super League team Greentown. Carlos Vela was on target for the Gunners.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s unhappy midfielder Denilson – who flew home early from Arsenal’s Far East tour – is returning to Brazil on loan. Fluminese have been chasing Denilson but he is likely to join Sao Paolo.