Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has questioned whether Barcelona will be able to come up with the money required to sign Cesc Fabregas.
Fabregas, who left the Nou Camp to join the Gunners as a 16-year-old in 2003, is reportedly ready to tell boss Arsene Wenger that he wants to rejoin his hometown club as soon as possible.
After failing with a £35 million bid last summer, Barcelona have already reignited the long-running transfer saga by offering £27 million for his services, which was quickly rejected by Arsenal.
There is now widespread expectation that the 24-year-old’s departure is imminent, with the Catalans believed to have made an improved bid and the Gunners apparently more open to a deal for their skipper if the price is right.
However, Parlour, who made 466 appearances in 12 trophy-laden years with Arsenal, claimed in an exclusive interview with news.bwin.com/en/ that Fabregas could still be at the Emirates Stadium next season.
“There are signs that he may be on his way, but I don’t know if Barcelona have got the money to buy him and they’ve already got such an excellent midfield,” said the former England midfielder.
“I’m sure Arsene Wenger will be saying he’s going to make four or five signings which will really strengthen the team and Fabregas might think ‘Well, we’re nearly there and maybe this is the season we will do it’.
“He enjoys playing for the club, he cares about the club – there’s no doubt about that. I’m hoping he does stay. He had his injury problems last season but he’s such a great player on his day.”
Arsenal are also sweating over the future of Samir Nasri, who only has one year left on his contract and has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United or Manchester City.
The Frenchman, who has reportedly turned down a £90,000-per-week deal to extend his stay in north London, has delivered mixed messages about his situation through the media and his Twitter account in recent weeks.
Parlour is not surprised that Nasri has so many suitors, but is urging Wenger, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and the club’s board to do everything in their power to hold on to the former Marseille playmaker.
“Sometimes when players go back to France they say things to their local newspapers or magazines and it does get blown out of proportion. But obviously, there are a lot of clubs out there now who would be very interested in taking Samir Nasri,” he added.
“He had a great season. He really stepped up when Fabregas was out for long periods. When he was playing well, he looked like he cared and showed a bit of passion. Arsenal need players like that.
“Let’s hope that Samir decides he enjoys playing for Arsenal, enjoys life in London and will sign on for another three or four years.”
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of Ray Parlour’s exclusive interview with news.bwin.com/en/, in which he discusses Arsene Wenger, Stan Kroenke and Arsenal’s future.