LONDON — Arsene Wenger is on the brink of breaking Arsenal’s transfer record to sign Juan Mata — and has gotten tough over Cesc Fabregas.
Wenger yesterday agreed a £17million deal with Valencia for Mata — and has also made an increased £13m bid for Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
But while Arsenal are finally set to start spending big this summer, they are also turning up the heat on Barcelona over the Fabregas transfer saga.
The Gunners’ captain will not play in this weekend’s Emirates Cup — as revealed by the Mirror — and Arsenal have told Barca to make a deal at £40m or call it off.
Wenger is believed to have set a deadline of August 5 in an e-mail sent to Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, so the Frenchman can start planning for the coming season. Arsenal is braced for Fabregas’ exit, but are fed-up of being kept waiting by Barca.
Fabregas is equally frustrated and is desperate to force the deal through. The Spanish midfielder has missed much of the pre-season because of a hamstring injury and has been training with the youth team this week.
He has told Wenger he wants to leave and may resort to a transfer request to get a deal done.
For their part, Arsenal are planning for life after Fabregas.
The deal for Mata (23) represents a great coup, even though it easily tops the £12m paid for Andrei Arshavin in 2009.
Spain winger Mata is one of the most sought-after talents in Europe and is keen to join Arsenal following talks between the clubs.
Sergio Aguero has revealed he has not even spoken to Carlos Tevez about joining Manchester City.
Aguero has completed his record £40million switch from Atletico Madrid to replace Tevez as City’s star striker and says it was Blues defender and fellow Argentine Pablo Zabaleta who convinced him to move.
He did not mention Tevez when asked which players he had consulted about City, even though they have just played together for Argentina at the Copa America. In what could be seen as another veiled snub for Tevez, Aguero claimed Liverpool’s former Atletico forward Maxi Rodriguez was his best pal in the Premier League.