Barcelona to Test Arsenal Resolve With $56 Million Fabregas Bid: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.

Barcelona Raises Bid

European champion Barcelona is poised to make an improved 35 million-pound ($55.8 million) offer for Cesc Fabregas after detecting a softening in Arsenal’s resolve to keep its captain, the Guardian reported.

Barcelona had two bids for Fabregas turned down last year and returned this month with an offer of 27 million pounds that was again rejected, the Guardian said. Fabregas, who is currently on vacation in Spain, would prefer any deal to be done before he’s due to report for pre-season training at Arsenal next week, the newspaper added.

Yearlong Saga

Fabregas could become a Barcelona player by the weekend, the Daily Mirror reported, citing a senior Arsenal official it didn’t identify. The Gunners want between 40 million pounds and 60 million pounds for the midfielder, though may sell for 35 million pounds to bring to an end a transfer saga lasting more than a year, the Mirror said.

Arsenal Alternative

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is tracking Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, 24, because of doubts over the futures of Fabregas and Samir Nasri, the Mirror reported.

Vidal scored 10 goals for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany’s Bundesliga last season and is rated at about 15 million pounds, the newspaper said. As Barcelona step up their attempts to sign Fabregas, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are monitoring contract talks between Arsenal and Nasri, who has a year remaining on his current deal, the Mirror added.

No Smiles

Nasri cast a downbeat figure yesterday at the launch of Arsenal’s new away shirt for the 2011-12 season, the Daily Mail reported. The midfielder “looked completely uninterested” in the blue and turquoise uniform, which will feature a special crest to mark the club’s 125th anniversary, the Mail said.

Modric Talks

Luka Modric’s future at Tottenham should become clearer on July 6, when the Croatian midfielder will hold talks with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, the Guardian reported.

Modric will report for pre-season training and have a meeting with Levy, accompanied by one of his representatives, the Guardian said. Chelsea had a bid of 22 million pounds for Modric rejected and Manchester United is also interested in signing Tottenham’s player of the year, the newspaper added.

Four for One

Tottenham offered Bolton four players in a potential exchange for defender Gary Cahill, the Daily Mail reported.

Spurs, who are working to trim their squad to make way for new signings, contacted Bolton manager Owen Coyle over a deal that would involve swapping Sebastien Bassong, Robbie Keane, Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton for the England international defender, the Mail said.

Wickham Fee Agreed

Sunderland agreed to pay Ipswich 13 million pounds for 18- year-old striker Connor Wickham in a bid to see off competition from Liverpool, the Mirror reported.

The Black Cats are committing 9 million pounds up front and a further 4 million pounds in add-ons for the teenager and the size of the offer has forced Ipswich to allow Wickham to speak to Sunderland about moving to the Premier League club, the Mirror said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

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