• Arsène Wenger sanctions £60m
sale of midfielders
• Club to make bids for Juan Mata
LONDON - Arsène Wenger has conceded defeat in his fight to keep Cesc Fábregas and Samir Nasri at Arsenal and he has told the club’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, to finalise their transfers to Barcelona and Manchester City as quickly as possible so that he can begin to pick up the pieces from two destabilising sagas.
The manager hopes to push through a deal for the Valencia winger Juan Mata and he has opened talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over the possibility of taking the attacking midfielder Jadson to the Emirates Stadium. He also has an interest in Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena and Lille’s Eden Hazard.
Wenger has long realised, in private, that it would be extremely difficult to keep Fábregas from Barcelona’s clutches for the third summer in succession, despite him being under contract at Arsenal until 2015, and it has been a case of attempting to extract the best possible fee from the European champions.
The parties are finally set to announce agreement at €40m (£35m), with Arsenal having pushed successfully for the full sum up front.
Wenger confirmed that the transfer was finally afoot when he was asked whether the captain’s future would be determined by the start of the Premier League season – Arsenal kick-off at Newcastle United on Saturday.
“That is completely the truth,” Wenger said. “We hope it will be sorted out very quickly one way or the other. We’ll know very quickly.”
Nasri’s departure, though, feels a little more shocking, despite the fact that he has entered the final 12 months of his contract.
Wenger was supremely confident in February that the midfielder would agree to fresh terms, which would have made him one of the highest paid players in the club’s history, only for a stand-off to ensue.
Four weeks ago Wenger categorically ruled out Nasri’s sale, stating that he would rather lose him as a Bosman free agent and write off a £20m-plus fee in order to keep him for one more season.
Yet Nasri’s head has been turned by the riches on offer at City, together with the prospect of trophies, which he feels is greater than at Arsenal and, from being relaxed about whether he stayed or went, his determination to depart has hardened.
There remains a difference between City and Arsenal in terms of Nasri’s valuation but it is expected to be ironed out and the transfer completed before City entertain Swansea City on Monday night. Arsenal expect to bank £25m from the deal while Nasri could earn as much as £180,000 a week at his new employers.