Cesc Fabregas transfer saga set to go on

Cesc Fabregas may have returned to start pre-season training at Arsenal, but faces a frustrating wait over just where he will start the new campaign as the Gunners look set to stand firm in Barcelona's on-going pursuit of their captain.

Unlike 12 months ago, there has so far been no public statement by either the Spain midfielder or the Barclays Premier League club over his immediate future.

Fabregas, 24, has reported back to London Colney, undergoing fitness work on his troublesome hamstring ahead of rejoining the full group later this week as Arsenal prepare for a short, but lucrative, trip to the Far East.

The Gunners - who are imminently expected to confirm the arrival of Ivory Coast striker Gervinho from Lille - have already rejected Barcelona's starting offer of £27million.

However, with Barca president Sandro Rossell now back from Copa America, the European Champions are determined to push through an improved deal, yet still below Arsenal's £40million valuation, before Arsene Wenger's squad head off to Malaysia.

There is, of course, no guarantee any agreement can be reached, which would leave Fabregas having little option but to join his current team-mates on the plane to spearhead the Gunners' commercial drive in Kuala Lumpur and then China.

Wenger, though, also knows from the experience of Thierry Henry's final campaign, there is no benefit in keeping an unhappy player just for the sake of it.

Whatever transpires with the latest chapter of the on-going transfer saga, losing his captain the same week as long-serving full-back Gael Clichy joined title rivals Manchester City would be a severe blow to morale, which is already in need of a lift after another season which imploded over the final weeks.

Arsenal's players have a staggered return to club duties this week, with contract rebel Samir Nasri not scheduled to return until Thursday, when the France midfielder is expectedly to tell Wenger whether he will commit to the Gunners cause, or look elsewhere for trophies, with Premier League champions Manchester United ready to test the Gunners' resolve.

Wenger is reported to hold many transfer targets this summer, but the sweeping changes predicted have so far failed to materialise - with those deemed now surplus to requirements, like Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, reporting back to Arsenal's Hertfordshire base.

Much of course could still happen in both directions before the transfer window closes at 11pm on August 31, with the Arsenal manager likening the whole process to a game of poker.

England centre-back Gary Cahill is a long-term target for the Gunners, but yesterday Bolton rejected suggestions a £17m deal was on the table, while Southampton also insist no formal agreement has been done for highly-rated youngster Alex Chamberlain and Argentina starlet Ricardo Alvarez appears set for Inter Milan rather than Emirates Stadium.

Clichy's departure has seen Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique emerge as a viable replacement, but with England international Kieran Gibbs already in the first-team picture, Wenger may well decide to put the reported £7m fee to better use on Lyon defender Aly Cissokho or indeed not spend it at all.

Given teenage defender Carl Jenkinson has so far been the only confirmed signing, in a £1m move from Charlton, many Gunners fans are becoming frustrated by the club's lack of movement in a summer transfer market which has seen their rivals already strengthen in numbers.

Supporters group 'Where has our Arsenal gone' - who organised a protest march about a 6.5% ticket price rise before the final home game of last season - are becoming concerned, but also hit out at those players not ready to dig in for the Gunners' cause.

"As supporters of Arsenal we don't want to see our best players leave. However, if they try and hold the club to ransom with extortionate wage demands or if they don't want to play for the club, we should let them leave - as long as the club is suitably remunerated," a statement read.

"No player is bigger than the club and as much as they may have kissed the badge in the past, they will never have as much affinity for 'The Arsenal' as we do. So thanks for your service but if you don't want to be here, good luck elsewhere."

The statement concluded: "We are back in pre-season training and no established quality has been brought in to bolster the squad, and there's still complete silence from the club's new majority shareholder [Stan Kroenke] with no comment regarding his intentions for the club.

"All these factors are making fans feel very concerned for our prospects in the coming season."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice