Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes former captain Cesc Fabregas will one day return to the club from Barcelona.
The Spanish midfielder left Arsenal for the club with which he came through the youth ranks in a £35 million deal in the summer of 2011 after a long-running transfer saga. Wenger explained that there was little that could be done to prevent Fabregas from moving back to Barcelona, but that the 25-year-old still has a lot of affection for Arsenal.
“I’m not convinced that he will not one day come back here, because he is a real Arsenal man,” Wenger said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“He loves Arsenal, he watches every Arsenal game. But of course, Barcelona was his home town and you had to accept that that would come into it, especially with their club having the best team in the world at that time.”
Fabregas has started all but three of Barcelona’s La Liga games this season, scoring his sixth goal in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Malaga. And Wenger admitted that Fabregas was unlikely to be leaving the Camp Nou any time soon, but that may change down the line.
“In the next two to three years certainly not–but maybe later.”
Arsenal have been linked of late with a move for Fabregas’s Barcelona teammate David Villa. However, their coach Tito Vilanova has backed up the words of president Sandro Rosell in stating that Villa will not be sold in the January transfer window.
Villa, 31, has struggled for minutes on the pitch since returning from a broken leg at the start of the season, yet he showed why the club do not want to lose him for the remainder of the season as he scored a brace in a Copa del Rey victory over Cordoba last week. A hamstring injury picked up in that game then ruled him out of the weekend meeting with Malaga.
"David is not going to leave,” Vilanova said, according to the Guardian. “We are very happy with him."
“The other day he scored two goals. We've always said that he's coming off a long injury, and he's getting more minutes all the time. But he's suffering more physical problems again.
"We know how important he is, like last year when we missed him a lot in the second half of the season. I'm convinced he will help us a lot over the remainder of the season."
With Villa now out of the running, Metro reports that Wenger could turn to Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez. The Spain international was thought to have been on Arsenal’s radar in the summer. Having struggled to earn a regular place in the Atletico side this season, it is thought that the 25-year-old could be available this month.
According to Metro, initial talks have already taken place over a potential £12 million move.
In other news, the Daily Mirror has linked Arsenal with a move for Toulouse defender Serge Aurier. The 20-year-old is rumored to be being lined up as a replacement for Bacary Sagna, who has yet to sign a new contract.
Born in the Ivory Coast, but a French citizen, Aurier has yet to declare himself for either national side.