Chelsea are attempting to structure a deal with Barcelona for midfielder Cesc Fabregas that would cut Arsenal out of any financial profit should their former captain leave the Nou Camp this summer.
Barcelona completed their long pursuit of Fabregas in 2011 when they signed the Spanish international for an initial £25.4m, although the finer details of the move mean his Premier League exit is a lot more complex than it seems.
Arsenal have a clause in his contract that not only allows them to match any accepted fee for Fabregas, but also one that will result in them receiving 50 per cent of any profit made on his sale. Fabregas himself has also paid £880,000 for each year of his contract to the north London club.
However, Arsenal have so far missed out on an additional £4.4m which would have been paid had the 27-year-old secured two La Liga titles and a Champions League winners’ medal with Barcelona, with Fabregas only experiencing one Spanish Primera Division title during his three years with his hometown club, as well as a Copa del Rey crown in 2011-12.
Chelsea: Potential summer transfer targets
Chelsea: Potential summer transfer targets
1/9 Paul Pogba
Former Manchester United midfielder was spotted in west London setting the rumour mill into overdrive. The classy French midfielder, still just 21, impressed at the World Cup and has been linked with a blockbuster £60m move to Stamford Bridge, despite the recent arrival of Cesc Fabregas. However, he is also linked with a move to Manchester City as a potential replacement for Yaya Toure.
2/9 Adrien Rabiot
The talented teen put clubs in Europe on alert after rejecting a contract offer from Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea made a move for the Frenchman in January and have gone back in for him, even though he is highly rated by PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
3/9 Sami Khedira
The German midfielder missed five months for Real Madrid's season with a knee injury and has played just 15 games this term. With Madrid reportedly interested in signing new players in central midfield, Khedira's future at the Bernabeu could be at an end. The 27-year-old is interesting Arsenal, but should Chelsea go in for him too, they would be getting a player that Mourinho knows well and real quality in front of the back four, not dissimilar to club legend Claude Makelele.
4/9 Yaya Toure
An outside bet, of course, but with all the drama surrounding the Toure and Manchester City recently, Chelsea could swoop. A powerhouse of a midfielder with a surprisingly deft touch and devastating skill at the dead ball, the 31-year-old would be huge assent to any team in the world. Toure cost City £24million in 2010, so any offer would have to huge from Chelsea if they are to persuade the Sky Blues to sell to a title rival.
Tottenham's summer signing hasn't quite lived up to the form he reached in Brazil's Confederations Cup victory in 2013 and struggled at the World Cup, but he has still performed well enough to have Chelsea and Real Madrid reportedly interested in acquiring his services. The 25-year-old would fit in well at Stamford Bridge given the Blues' strong Brazilian contingent already. Paulinho had a mixed first season in the Premier League, scored six goals with three assists last season and not the return Spurs were hoping for, and the lure of Champions League football could persuade the midfielder to switch London clubs.
6/9 Fabio Coentrao
With Ashley Cole having joined Roma and Ryan Bertrand also likely to leave, Jose Mourinho will be in need of a quality, experienced left-back and one possibility is Real Madrid's Coentrao. The 26-year-old came close to joining Manchester United in January and is likely to lose his starting place at Madrid when Marcelo is fully fit again next season. Carlo Ancelotti denies any rumours that the Portuguese defender will leave but if the right offer were to be made by Chelsea, he could be on his way to London and nail down a starting role with ease.
7/9 Edinson Cavani
After a season of playing in the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, Cavani looks likely to leave the French side after just one year and become the main man at an English club next season. Chelsea remain interested in the Uruguayan but Chelsea are despite a deal for Diego Costa already complete, but may face competition from Manchester United. The 27-year-old cost PSG €64.5million last summer, so any offer from Mourinho would take a large slice of his funds but with his striking power and goals an almost guarantee, it could be a risk worth going for.
8/9 Radamel Falcao
The Colombian striker did not regain fitness in time for the World Cup but it has given him a good chance to weigh up his future. Seemingly always in transfer rumours despite his €60m switch to Monaco last summer, Falcao is a long-term target of the Blues, though Diego Costa has filled the previously vacant No 9 role. The 28-year-old lit up La Liga during his two seasons with Atlectico Madrid but, mainly because of injury, has failed to live up to his price tag in France. If unrest reports are true, Chelsea could attempt an offer.
9/9 Raphael Varane
Reportedly unhappy at Real Madrid due to his low wages in comparison to his team-mates, the centre back has been linked with a move away. Chelsea are reportedly one of the clubs interested in the France international with Jose Mourinho seeing him as a long-term replacement for John Terry.
With all add-ons taken into account, the Fabregas transfer worked out at just over £28m, and with Barcelona demanding £30m from clubs interested in the creative midfielder, the Gunners are set to receive a further windfall from his departure.
Arsenal have shown that their intention is to stay out of the race for Fabregas, with manager Arsene Wenger convinced he has enough options available in the midfield of his current squad that shelling out for the player he first signed in 2004 is not worth the fee.
However, Chelsea are reportedly attempting to complete a deal that would cosy around £27m, and thus result in their London rivals missing out on any further bonus from the move. It shows that the Blues still consider Arsenal as a fierce rival, with the two sides separated by just three points in last season’s Premier League table – although the 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge will haunt the Gunners for years to come.
The perception that Arsenal are on the rise goes back to last summer when Wenger looked to secure Chelsea striker Demba Ba on loan, only for his £42.5m capture of Mesut Özil to change Jose Mourinho’s mind on allowing Ba to leave given that he considered Arsenal a threat with the Germany midfielder in their ranks.
As a result, Chelsea demanded a large loan fee that Arsenal refused to meet, and the Senegalese striker went on to feature sparingly for the Blues throughout the season.
While Chelsea would prefer to tie-up the deal sooner rather than later, their priority remains completing the £32m move for Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa before the World Cup begins on Thursday. The Brazilian-born Spain striker managed 74 minutes on his return from injury in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over El Salvador.
Having already passed a medical after they activated his release clause, Costa admitted that it looked like he would be playing for Chelsea next season, although the deal is yet to be announced as they continue to negotiate personal terms.