Real poised to make offers for Robben and Fabregas

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid paved the way for what promises to be a hectic summer in the transfer market yesterday by announcing their intention to make official approaches to Arsenal and Chelsea for Cesc Fabregas and Arjen Robben before the end of the week, while making it clear they are close to capturing Italy's World Cup-winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro, from Juventus.

Officials in the club's new regime have been accused of talking up their interest in the Premiership players solely to unsettle rival clubs and to help them to win the Real Madrid presidential elections 10 days ago. But the club's new director of football, Predrag Mijatovic, said: "We would never do that. Of course, we are fighting to bring the players to this club. After Thursday I am going to be moving with their respective clubs in a bid to show our supporters we are people of our word."

Regarding Cannavaro, Mijatovic said: "We've made good headway in getting him here and we're going to continue trying hard. I'm sure there will be some news in the next few days.

"I can appreciate that Cannavaro was a huge reason why Juventus won two Scudetti and why Italy won the World Cup."

Juventus, who on Monday appointed the former Chelsea midfielder Didier Deschamps as their new coach, are embroiled in a match-fixing trial, with the prosecution recommending that they be relegated to Serie C.

Mijatovic and the new Real president Ramon Calderon came to power promising to sign Fabregas, Robben and Milan's Kaka but no progress has been made. And last week Chelsea made an official complaint to Fifa about Real's conduct over Robben.

The Spanish club were accused of talking to the player without permission, although Calderon claimed afterwards that any conversations with the Dutch winger took place before he became Real Madrid president. "Since becoming president I have had no talks with any players" he said, insisting that all business would now be carried out strictly in accordance with Fifa regulations.

Real sense they have a chance of grabbing Robben if their spat with Chelsea can be smoothed over. Roberto Carlos' proposed switch to Stamford Bridge could help the deal through.

But persuading Arsenal to sell Fabregas remains a far less realistic aim. Real are hoping to offer Julio Baptista as part of a cash-plus-player exchange. The Brazilian, who can play in midfield or attack, was wanted by Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger last summer when he left Seville but chose a move to Madrid.

Calderon said: "Arsenal were interested in Baptista last season and they still are, maybe something can be worked out."

Capello could also look to Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy as his new striker, although Real have balked at the 30-year-old's £16m price tag. Cristiano Ronaldo has also been linked with the club and he and Marseilles winger Franck Ribéry could both be an option if the Robben bid fails. Lyon's midfielder Mahamadou Diarra will be targeted if Real fail to prise Fabregas from Arsenal.

Real have also been linked with Cannavaro's Juventus team-mates Gianluca Zambrotta and Emerson, and possibly either one of the strike partnership of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Trezeguet. If Milan are also found guilty in the match-fixing scandal and are relegated, Real will look to sign their Brazilian Kaka while Chelsea have been linked with a move for their defender Alessandro Nesta.

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