After a summer in which two of their key players have left the club, Arsenal supporters can breath easy, for the moment at least, as their biggest asset, Cesc Fabregas, looks certain to stay at the Emirates Stadium for another year at least. Barcelona, the inspirational Spanish midfielder's biggest suitors and the club where he began his career as a youth player, have admitted that Fabregas is likely to be out of their price range.
Defender Kolo Toure and striker Emmanuel Adebayor have both left Arsenal for Manchester City this summer, with Arsene Wenger facing criticism for allowing the key players to depart. But the London club should be able to hang on to the coveted Fabregas, with Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain saying the club do want to bring him back to the Camp Nou, but will not pay over the odds. Barcelona were superlative last season, winning a treble of the Spanish league and cup as well as the European Champions League, and scoring more than 100 goals.
Begiristain identified Fabregas as one of the few players in the world capable of improving Pep Guardiola's side. "It depends on how much we want to spend," he said in Marca. "If we spend a lot of money, it is possible [to bid for Fabregas]. We do not know how much it will be yet. We have not asked Arsenal. "If the amount is too high, we will not try." With players like Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo moving clubs for huge sums this summer, it is likely Arsenal would demand a similar fee for Fabregas, should a club be able to afford him
Barcelona are feeling some pressure to spend from their supporters following the spending spree of rivals Real Madrid, who have invested more than £220million (Dh1,339m) this summer. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson maintains he has "no worries" over the ability of goalkeeper Ben Foster. The 26-year-old stopper endured a difficult afternoon at Wembley on Sunday, where Chelsea won the FA Community Shield on penalties. Foster is standing in for Edwin van der Sar and is likely to feature for England in tomorrow's friendly against Holland. And while Ferguson admits it was not the best display from Foster, who had a two-year loan spell at Watford, the Scot insists he has every confidence the keeper can deliver.
"Knowing Ben and the ability which he has, he should have done better with the second goal," said the United manager. "However, it was his first big challenge. He has waited a long time, has had his injuries and in pre-season I spread the load between the three keepers, and maybe we did not have enough minutes for him. "But the important thing is, knowing his ability, it means I do not have any worries about him."
Gary Cahill has signed a new three-year contract with Bolton, tying him to the club until 2012. The 23-year-old defender excelled at the Reebok Stadium last season following his switch from Aston Villa, and earned a call-up to Fabio Capello's England squad in June as a result. "Gary is the best young centre-half in the country by an absolute mile," said Bolton manager Gary Megson. "He's had another great season and I believe it's only a matter of time before he plays for England on a regular basis."