x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fabregas made to wait for Barcelona transfer

The Arsenal midfielder's move to Spain has been delayed with the two clubs yet to finalise the details of a deal.

Cesc Fabregas's move to Barcelona was delayed last night with the two clubs yet to finalise the details of a deal.

Fabregas had been widely expected to complete a switch to Camp Nou before Arsenal's Premier League opener at Newcastle United today.

Yesterday afternoon, a Barcelona spokesman said they would make an announcement "within hours" on an expected deal.

"We have to put the finishing touches to a few details and when they are finished we will announce the signing," said a spokesman.

Barcelona players even began to announce the deal on Twitter.

"Welcome home, happy to have you here @cesc4official," Carles Puyol, the defender, tweeted, addressing his message to Cesc's Twitter account. "@cesc4official, we have got him," tweeted Puyol's centre-back partner Gerard Pique.

However, no announcement was forthcoming and Sky Sports News later reported that Fabregas had cancelled his flight to Spain and been ordered by Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona manager, to stay in England until after tomorrow's Spanish Super Cup involving Barca and Real Madrid.

Sky Sports said that Guardiola has told the midfielder, who is expected to sign a five-year contract, to cancel the flight to avoid upsetting Arsenal.

It had been thought that the deal would be done in time for Fabregas to play in the Super Cup.

Reports on Thursday in England and Spain said that a fee of around £27 million (Dh160.1m), with an additional £5.2m in performance-based add-ons, had been agreed between the two clubs.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, gave little information on the futures of Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who is said to be close to a move to Manchester City, in his pre-match news conference yesterday.

However, the Frenchman stated that no player is irreplaceable.

Fabregas has been omitted from the squad for the Newcastle game while the fitness of Nasri, who has an illness, is being monitored.

Wenger appeared resigned to losing the duo, but gave a series of non-committal answers when questioned over their departures.

"I expect nobody to leave the club," he said.

When asked if therefore they will stay, Wenger said: "That's a good conclusion from my statement. I believe the best thing for us, one day before the season starts, is not to focus on the possible transfers.

"I cannot say it will never happen, I cannot say it will happen.

"At the moment there is no news and if we have any news to give you, I promise you we will do it.

"What we want today is to focus on the players who play tomorrow and not the players who do not play. The players who can help the club achieve performances are more important than the players who don't. I will decide what is best for the club. The first quality for a player is to have talent, the second is wanting to play where he is.

"You demand commitment to the club and the desire to achieve things. That is only possible if you really want to do it."

The prospect of losing arguably his two best players must be daunting, but Wenger said replacements can be found, if necessary.

"We are all replaceable. All the cemeteries are full of replaceable people," he said. "But you do not want to lose big players. We fight to have big players, so you do not want to lose them.

"I'm not disappointed in Cesc's behaviour. My personal feelings are not important. I take nothing personally. I have not been disappointed by Cesc's attitude and not by Samir's attitude. They have both been professional."

Wenger denied losing the duo would alter Arsenal's status, saying: "Manchester United let [Cristiano] Ronaldo go, do you think they are not a big club?"

* Agencies