Arsenal reluctantly agree £35m Fabregas transfer to Barcelona

Wenger concedes defeat in lengthy saga and tersely thanks midfielder for his 'contribution'
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The Independent Online

Arsenal last night claimed they had got the €40m [£35m] deal they wanted for Cesc Fabregas as the player's transfer to Barcelona was finally completed.

The club announced Fabregas' departure just before 10pm last night – half-time of the Spanish Super Cup first leg between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Bernabeu which finished 2-2 – with Fabregas already en route to Spain. In a noticeably low-key statement, Arsène Wenger praised the player's "contribution" to the club but said that it had been impossible to stand in his way.

Wenger said: "We have been clear that we didn't want Cesc to leave and that remains the case. However, we understand Cesc's desire to move to his hometown club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success."

Arsenal sources said they were confident that they had obtained the terms that they wanted from a deal worth around €40m. Reports in Spain said that Barcelona had agreed to pay an initial fee of just €14.5m with a further €14.5m payment in October.

It was further claimed there will be future payments of €1m for every one of the five years on Fabregas' contract and – providing he wins two league titles and one Champions League over that time – a further €6m. Arsenal have not confirmed whether those figures are right

After almost two years of intermittent negotiations between the two clubs for the player, Barcelona regard it as important to present him – in relative terms – as a bargain in order that they can comply with financial fair play regulations.

Arsenal face a likely Football Association charge for Alex Song today following his stamp on Newcastle's Joey Barton on Saturday that went unseen by the referee Peter Walton in the 0-0 draw at St James' Park. They are also working on the understanding that attempting to appeal Gervinho's red card for a blatant slap to Barton's face would be likely to invite a longer punishment for the striker than just a three-game ban.

Wenger's team face Udinese in the first leg of their Champions League play-off tomorrow hopeful that there is better news over Jack Wilshere's ankle injury. Arsenal are without Robin Van Persie who is suspended for the first leg, following his red card against Barcelona in the Champions League last season.

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