Mourinho Joins The Chase For Fabregas

Jose Mourinho is plotting a £35million bid for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to get one over Real Madrid’s greatest rivals. Barcelona are set to revive their long-running interest in the Spain midfielder, but Madrid are planning a summer coup that would send shockwaves through Catalonia.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has no intention of parting with a player who is under contract till 2015, but that has not stopped La Liga’s biggest two testing the water again by planting stories in the Spanish press. A day after Barcelona-based El Mundo Deportivo reported that the champions were keeping their symbolic No 4 shirt clear for Fabregas, Madrid paper Marca insisted on their front page that Real would also enter the bidding.

Mourinho, frustrated by his club ruling out January reinforcements, has reportedly told his bosses to put all their efforts into signing the 23-year-old at the end of the season. Mahamadou Diarra, Lassana Diarra and Fernando Gago are all likely to leave the Bernabeu to make way for a player who is seen as the perfect partner for former Liverpool ace Xabi Alonso. Madrid are also expected to activate a buyback clause to take Dani Parejo from Getafe after the former Queens Park Rangers loan star’s impressive season in La Liga.

Although Barca have the advantage of Fabregas idolising the club and their boss Pep Guardiola, he has previously refused to rule out playing for Madrid. Mourinho would argue that he will build a midfield around the Fabregas-Alonso axis, while it is less clear how the Spaniard would feature alongside Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the Camp Nou.

The headlines drifting over from Iberia will not be welcome in north London. Arsenal reacted angrily to Barca conducting negotiations through the Spanish press earlier this year and then swiftly dismissed a formal £29m bid when it eventually emerged from the fax machine. Though they wouldn’t publicly entertain any bid, the Gunners would expect to bank much more than the £35m fee suggested in Madrid.

Barca are in a stronger financial position to improve their bid following a £140million five-year tie up with the Qatar Foundation, but president Sandro Rosell is still keeping a tight rein on finances. Fabregas always insists he is happy at Arsenal, but there will continue to be question marks about his future until the Gunners can end a trophy drought stretching back to 2005’s FA Cup triumph.

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