Barcelona Move For Cesc Fabregas and David Villa Leaving The Door Open For Arsenal To Move For Ibrahimovic or Toure
Barcelona are on the verge of a sensational double signing after the Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas told Arsene Wenger that he wanted to return to his spiritual home. The Catalan side have now opened talks with the adviser's of Fabregas and David Villa over proposed moves to the Nou Camp, while Barca also made it known that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an escape clause in his contract if an English Premier League team places a bid for him...
Ibrahimovic was widely criticised for his lack of effort in the Champions League games against Arsenal and Inter Milan where statisticians were able to point out that at the Emirates he ran for only 450m when the average is over 10,000m and that against Inter Milan Victor Valdes, the Barca 'keeper, actually ran further than the striker.
From then on, the giant Swede found himself on the bench and was little more than a spectator as La Blaugrana closed in on the title.
Ibrahimovic was supposed to be "Plan B" if their fluid passing game did not work. However, his shocking performances against Inter Milan left Pep Guardiola, Barcelona's manager, highly unhappy, especially as he had paid Samuel Eto'o plus £47 million for his strikers services.
This defeat to Inter has caused Guardiola to move quickly in an effort at re-building his team with winning the Champions League in mind.
When their backs were against the wall against the 10-men of Inter Milan Barcelona struggled to create anything of real note. Having been robbed of the sublime Andres Iniesta through injury all Inter Milan had to do was shut Xavi out of the game, with the Spanish international in shackles the supply route to Lionel Messi was effectively shut off.
Cesc Fabregas' signing would repair this immediately. The Arsenal midfielder weighed in with a highly impressive 19 goals and 19 assists before his season was ended with injury, somewhat ironically against Barcelona which could turn out to have been his last game in the red and white of the Gunners .
The ties between Fabregas and the Catalan side are well known and it is generally accepted that it is only a matter of time before he returns to the team where he began his career. Such is Fabregas' stock in Catalunia that the youth side he played for is still referred to as the dream team or class of '87.
Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi who have progressed to the first team are also noteworthy graduates from the conveyor belt at La Masia.
David Villa's move to the Camp Nou makes a lot of sense when you realise that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unwanted by Guardiola. He is probably the best striker in the world at the moment and is one of the first names on the team sheet for Spain.
He was on the verge of a move away from Valencia last year but chose to stay and help the Mestalla based team to finish a highly impressive third in La Liga this season, and in effect has secured the financial future of the club.
The 28 year old has been in blistering form for Valencia over the last five seasons, scoring 108 goals in just 168 league games and is only moving into his prime now. At a believed £30 million he would be a far cheaper and better option than Barcelona's Plan B, the injury prone £50m rated Fernando Torres.
His signing will prompt Barca to offload Ibrahimovic. La Blaugrana have just announced that the Swede has an escape clause in his contract whereby he can be sold to a team in the English Premier League if they agree to pay a certain fee for the player, clubs in Italy or Germany would have to pay far more.
With that in mind, Ibrahimovic could become a pawn in the transfer of Fabregas if Barcelona can convince Arsene Wenger to take the striker.
It could be a good option for the Gunners who really struggled for goals when the injury prone Robin van Persie missed almost half the season with ankle problems.
The Dutch striker only averages 25 games a season at the Emirates and Wenger could look at the extra options Ibrahimovic could bring.
Marouane Chamakh will join the club on a free transfer from Bourdeaux, but he is more a right sided forward than the central figure the club require. Van Persie naturally drifts out to the left so a triumvirate with Ibrahimovic at it's centre could be highly attractive to Le Prof, especially if he is also given another £20million to £30 million for Fabregas. This would enable him to replace his captain immediately and with a player at almost the same standard.
However, the most likely situation to occur will be Barcelona offering Yaya Toure plus money for Fabregas' signature, but that could depend upon whether the Ivorian wants to leave or not.
The next couple of weeks will be crucial to Fabregas and Villa. Outgoing President Joan Laporta has told the fans he wishes to leave them a parting gift; Fabregas? The incoming candidates have all focused on either Villa or Torres as the centre piece of their campaigns and with Real Madrid expected to bring in a new manager, possibly Rafael Benitez , and spend another fortune La Blaugrana have made the first move.
The World Cup has yet to start and already the summer is shaping up to be one to remember.