Despite Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stating last week that he would attempt to hold on to wantaway midfielder Cesc Fabregas, it has now emerged that the Gunners have been in negotiation with Barcelona about the 24-year-old.
Last summer, Arsenal had rejected two bids for Fabregas , and have turned down another offer this year. However, in a contrastingly different stance to last year, Arsenal are willing to negotiate a possible deal, as confirmed by Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
Last year we were interested in Cesc but Arsenal did not make him available, he said at a press conference. This year Arsenal have agreed to negotiate and we're working on it. Prices in the market are what they are right now, but I hope that everything can be resolved.
Everything we have done has been with the permission of Arsenal and Mr Wenger knows that.
However, there is a chance that a deal for Fabregas could be postponed for next summer as Guardiola admitted that his priority was to sign a forward.
Between a midfielder and a forward, our priority is a forward, he said, but there's money for two players. There is money available to sign the player and until the last day (of the transfer window) we will try to sign him, but I'm the first to understand that sometimes these things cannot happen.
Cesc will make us better, we're interested, but if it's not to be then maybe we will complete the deal next year and use the money for something else.
However, if Fabregas, as speculated, would do something as try and force a move by refusing to play for Arsenal, it wouldn't make a good first impression with Guardiola.
Guardiola said, I don't like it when players go on strike. Cesc has to do what Arsenal asks. If he didn't go on the club's pre-season tour to Asia, it's because he's injured. He belongs to Arsenal.
According to the Independent, the saga is set to wind up this week as Barcelona are preparing a bid of £35m for the player. Their third bid of the summer is expected to finally tip the transfer.
The figure falls short of Arsenal's valuation of £40m on Fabregas. However, the report suggests that the clubs will meet at around £37m, which will leave both sides happy, especially as Fabregas has an agreement with Wenger that he would be allowed to leave once Barca make an acceptable offer.
Arsenal travel to Germany on Friday as a part of the club's pre-season training camp, but Fabregas will no longer be a part of that trip, if the deal is completed, as expected, by then.
Elsewhere, the Metro has reported that Arsenal's pursuit of Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku will be challenged by Manchester City, apart from Chelsea.
The Gunners were reported to have met the 18-year-old's agent last week, as Wenger looks to shore up his forward line. However, they could face a fight if they're looking to sign him as Chelsea, Manchester City, Inter Milan and Paris Saint Germain are also interested.
Despite the speculation surrounding his future, Lukaku is maintaining a cool head. He said, I'm keeping a cool head. said Lukaku. Normally I train and I play my game. If I thought too much or if I was holding back, it would be the best way to hurt me.
Arsenal will face a fight to land another of their reported targets as Bayer Leverkusen's Arturo Vidal has reportedly interested Chelsea who are looking to replace the injured Michael Essien.
Leverukusen's sporting director Rudi Voeller was coy when asked about the matter, saying Arturo is a highly-coveted player, there are many clubs who want to buy him. We will only sell him in the summer when an offer that we deem appropriate comes.