Fabregas on the brink of £36m transfer to Barca


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Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was last night close to joining Barcelona in a deal reaching €40m (£36m): €29m would reportedly be paid up front, with €6m in add-ons, and €5m paid by Fabregas to Arsenal to make up the difference in the two clubs' valuations. The midfielder has been the subject of protracted interest from the club with whom he started his career, but the saga seemed to be reaching its conclusion last night. The transfer is expected to be completed by the weekend.

Another high-value player seemingly on the move is Samuel Eto'o (below), who is set to go to the newly wealthy Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala rather than Manchester City, according to the Internazionale chief executive Ernesto Paolillo. With Eto'o bringing in a large fee, the Italian said Wesley Sneijder would stay at Inter, and disavowed any interest in Carlos Tevez.

The Cameroon striker had been the subject of a possible exchange deal with City's Tevez, but it now appears he will be going to the Dagestan-based side instead. "Eto'o is leaving," Paolillo said yesterday, "he is going to the Russian club", – though the player's agent said only that "we have practically agreed things with Anzhi".

The unlikely offer to the 2010 European champions from a team who were only promoted to the Russian Premier League in 2009 was described as "intelligent" by Inter president Massimo Moratti yesterday. "You could say the offer is interesting, intelligent, fair and reflective of the player's worth," Moratti said.

"I wouldn't permit myself to comment on whether or not it's an indecent offer but you could say that it's intelligent and worthy of our player. We will analyse it in the coming days with Eto'o and our directors."

The striker's personal terms with Anzhi are thought to be very generous, although his agent Claudio Vigorelli said that reports of his salary had been exaggerated. "We have practically reached an agreement with Anzhi," Vigorelli told a Russian sports website, Sports.ru. "Hopefully, the clubs will also agree between themselves. The media have been reporting false figures in relation to Samuel's contract."