Joan Laporta, the outgoing president of Barcelona, said yesterday that talks with Valencia for the capture of David Villa, the Spain striker, were "on track" and he expected them "to be resolved soon". Rafael Yuste, the Barcelona vice-president, earlier told Catalonian radio station Ona FM that the Spanish champions are closing in on Villa and remain hopeful of negotiating a deal for Cesc Fabregas, the Arsenal captain.
Barca retained the Primera Liga crown on Sunday, but have already earmarked potential new signings for next season as they attempt to counteract what could be another summer of big spending from Real Madrid. Yuste admitted that deals for Villa and Fabregas are at different stages. "Negotiations are progressing well especially in the case of Villa," he said. "The situation with Cesc is different because even if you have the will of the player it is very important to talk to his club and, if you can, find an agreement. But what makes it easier is that both players want to come to Barca."
Fabregas, who played alongside Lionel Messi in the Barca youth ranks before moving to Arsenal in 2003, sent mixed messages over his future last week when he attended a promotional event in Barcelona. He said: "You see your [Spanish] teammates succeeding here and it is exciting because you have worked alongside them for so long. I think I would like to go to Barcelona, whether or not they want me is another thing."
However, the Spain international - who has a long-term contract with the Gunners - also stressed: "I don't know when it will happen. I am happy at Arsenal and I am not in a rush to leave." But added: "Before I leave for the World Cup I want my future sorted out because it benefits nobody if I go into the tournament with something else on my mind." * Agencies