Gerrard out for six weeks with injury
Sunday 31 July 2011
Steven Gerrard's injury problems have not been eased by the summer break and he will miss the start of the new season after his troublesome groin injury became infected.
Liverpool's captain is in hospital, for a course of antibiotic treatment. The 31-year-old has not played since March and he is out of Liverpool's first three Premier League games, against Sunderland, Arsenal and Bolton. He also looks likely to miss England's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales. Liverpool's trip to Stoke on 10 September has been pencilled in for a return.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will look to resolve the long-running saga of Cesc Fabregas and his likely move back to Barcelona this week – but the fee will not be negotiable. The Gunners rejected a £27million bid from Barça for the 24-year-old in June and they are holding out for a package that would total £40m. The Catalans have yet to make a renewed offer but their manager, Pep Guardiola, has said he will "fight to the end" to sign the midfielder.
The Spanish champions are determined to sign Fabregas after being thwarted in the past two seasons and the midfielder is desperate to return to his boyhood club. Fabregas has not played in Arsenal's pre-season so far, indicating that the club are finally prepared to let their captain leave the Emirates. Arsenal claim that Fabregas has not played because of a hamstring injury.
Ideally, Arsène Wenger wants Fabregas' future to be resolved in the next week, so it does not further disrupt his preparations for the Premier League season that starts on 13 August.
The Arsenal manager admitted before yesterday's Emirates Cup that Fabregas was "not settled" and that "that had to be sorted soon".
Wenger said he sympathised with Fabregas – a player "torn between two loves" – but added, pointedly: "We have a responsibility towards our club. I have that responsibility to sell the players at a decent price, or I take money away from my club. And that is not just to please one player."
Arsenal have a replacement lined up, after matching a £17.5m release clause in Juan Mata's contract which will enable the midfielder to leave Valencia, although they are facing competition from Tottenham Hotspur. The Everton defender Phil Jagielka is also a target for Wenger but the Goodison Park team value him at £18m.
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