Transfer Talk: Guardiola plays down move for Fabregas

Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, has added to the recent pessimistic statements coming from the Nou Camp over the club's attempt to sign Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal this summer.

Arsène Wenger, the Gunners manager, appealed at the weekend for the speculation about Fabregas to stop, and Guardiola yesterday echoed comments from the Barcelona president Sandro Rosell that it was proving difficult to persuade Arsenal to do a deal for the 23-year-old midfielder.

While the Barça coach made sure to reiterate that he does "want him [Fabregas] to come," he was forced to concede that Arsenal remain very much in the driving seat. "I think bringing in Cesc will cost a lot and if Arsenal don't want to negotiate he won't come," he said.

Now that Guardiola has damped down the chances of a transfer this year, we may see attention diverted away from this, the rumour of the summer. The distraction of Fabregas has at least allowed the Spanish giants to shore up their squad in other areas without much attention. For instance, Barcelona have now officially completed the signing of Seville full-back Adriano Correia for £8m.

Meanwhile, the second biggest transfer story of the close season, Mario Balotelli, took a turn in favour of Manchester United yesterday, as rivals City were rebuffed for a second time by Internazionale. Even though City increased their offer to £21m, Inter still refused to sell in the hope of getting a bigger sum for the 19-year-old striker, who they value at closer to £30m. Meanwhile, Balotelli's agent said the player will take his time. "I don't think the situation will be solved this evening," he said.

A deal for Balotelli may well prove the catalyst that will ignite a flat transfer market. An influx of money at Inter would certainly find its way back in to the Premier League through the acquisition of Javier Macherano from Liverpool, which will allow more activity from their new manager, Roy Hodgson.

Rafa Benitez, the new Inter coach, would also like to bring in Everton's midfielder Steven Piennar if the European champions sell Balotelli. However, a recent Italian FA ruling that restricts the number of non-European Union players teams can buy could undermine the bid as 18-year-old Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has already joined Inter this summer. It is understood though that if a deal cannot be agreed now for Pienaar, the 28-year-old South African would be willing to see out his deal with Everton and sign a pre-contract with Inter in January.

West Bromwich

Graham Dorrans has pledged his future to the newly promoted Premier League club by signing a new contract. West Ham had three bids which went up to £5m rejected for the Albion midfielder but the Scot elected to sign a four-year extension. "I'm delighted Graham has signed a new long-term contract," said manager Roberto di Matteo. "There has been a lot of media speculation about Graham's future but it hasn't affected him one bit." West Brom confirmed yesterday that midfielder Borja Valero has joined Villarreal on a season-long loan, with the intention of making a permanent move next year.

Newcastle

Dan Gosling is on the brink of signing for United after leaving Everton. The 20-year-old midfielder walked out of Goodison Park last month after the Merseyside club failed to make him a written offer over renewing his contract. After being closely linked with Sunderland and West Ham, Newcastle have won the race for Gosling, who is expected to sign a four-year deal today. Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager, also hopes to confirm the arrival of former England defender Sol Campbell this week. The two parties are currently trying to reach an agreement over the 35-year-old's wage demands.

Tottenham

Harry Redknapp is set to make Stipe Pletikosa the fourth Croatian at Spurs after agreeing to sign the 31-year-old goalkeeper from Spartak Moscow on a free transfer. Redknapp said: "The best players I ever managed have been Croatian boys."

Celtic

Manager Neil Lennon is considering the future of Georgios Samaras after receiving a bid from Spanish side Hercules. The striker's contract expires next summer and Lennon said: "We'll contemplate what we will do over the next few days."

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there