Cesc Fabregas, pictured here at a press conference in 2007, is finally returning to Barcelona after eight years with Arsenal.
Cesc Fabregas, pictured here at a press conference in 2007, is finally returning to Barcelona after eight years with Arsenal.

Deal has been reached between Barcelona and Arsenal for Cesc Fabregas



BARCELONA // Barcelona's marathon pursuit of Cesc Fabregas finally ended late last night when Arsenal agreed to grant their captain's wish and allow him to return to his boyhood club.

The European champions confirmed the deal, which is expected to be worth between €36 million and €40 million (Dh189m to Dh210m), at half-time in their Spanish Super Cup clash against Real Madrid.

The deal, which brings to an end a transfer saga that began last year, will take Fabregas back to the club he left as a 16 year old in 2003.

"We have been clear that we didn't want Cesc to leave and that remains the case," said Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager.

"However, we understand Cesc's desire to move to his hometown club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success."

The 24-year-old Fabregas will undergo a medical at Barcelona's Camp Nou later today and, after agreeing personal terms, will be presented to the media.

"We are presenting him on Monday and then we'll have to see how he is," said the Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola after his side had drawn 2-2 with Real in Sunday's Supercup.

"We are one more with him in the team in a year when we've got the Clubs World Cup and a lot of games. We need more players and we need good players."

Barcelona president Sandro Rossell was overjoyed at finally sealing a deal for the Spanish international.

"It's like a son coming home," said Rossell.

Barcelona had already failed with an offer of €34.4m and an improved reported bid of €29m plus €6m in future add-ons had also failed to tempt the Gunners.

However, British media reported that Arsenal were finally ready to accept a €36m, with Spanish sports daily Marca putting the deal closer to €40m, of which €6m would depend on performance and results.

Fabregas spent eight years at Arsenal and made 303 appearances, scoring 57 goals in all competitions.

Named as Arsenal captain in November 2008, he also became a regular in the Spanish national team and has made 58 appearances to date.

Barcelona defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique had already anticipated the deal on Friday when they sent messages on their Twitter accounts welcoming the player before any official announcement.

"Welcome home, happy to have you here @cesc4official," Puyol tweeted, addressing his message to Cesc's Twitter account. "@cesc4official, we have got him," tweeted Piqué.

Wenger left Fabregas out of the side which drew 0-0 at Newcastle on Saturday.

He also overlooked Samir Nasri for Saturday's league opener with the French international widely-expected to seal a move to Manchester City in the coming days.

Wenger, whose Arsenal side begin life without Fabregas on Tuesday in a Champions League play-off against Udinese, will come under intense pressure to spend the money from the deal on new recruits.

But the Frenchman has already ruled out a move for Valencia's Juan Mata from Valencia, although he has been linked with Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian midfielder Jadson.

Striker Robin van Persie is likely to be the new permanent Arsenal captain.

PLAY-OFF DRAW

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KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

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Dirham Stretcher tips for having a baby in the UAE

Selma Abdelhamid, the group's moderator, offers her guide to guide the cost of having a young family:

• Buy second hand stuff

 They grow so fast. Don't get a second hand car seat though, unless you 100 per cent know it's not expired and hasn't been in an accident.

• Get a health card and vaccinate your child for free at government health centres

 Ms Ma says she discovered this after spending thousands on vaccinations at private clinics.

• Join mum and baby coffee mornings provided by clinics, babysitting companies or nurseries.

Before joining baby classes ask for a free trial session. This way you will know if it's for you or not. You'll be surprised how great some classes are and how bad others are.

• Once baby is ready for solids, cook at home

Take the food with you in reusable pouches or jars. You'll save a fortune and you'll know exactly what you're feeding your child.

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