ARSENAL are understood to be relaxed about the future of Cesc Fabregas despite their captain causing a stir by wearing a Barcelona shirt during Spain’s World Cup celebrations.
Fabregas has made no secret of his desire to return to Barca after seven seasons in north London and the Spanish champions have spent much of the summer declaring their intention to sign him.
Andres Iniesta yesterday became the latest in a seemingly endless line of Camp Nou stars to talk in glowing terms of the midfielder’s possible homecoming, saying they would be “delighted” to land the 23-year-old.
But the Gunners remain unmoved by continued speculation over their skipper and are thought to regard the shirt incident, which took place during Monday night’s public festivities in Madrid, as harmless.
Fabregas had the jersey effectively forced over his head by Spain colleagues Gerard
Pique and Carles Puyol, both of Barcelona, and Arsenal see their player as an embarrassed victim of the prank.
Arsenal last month emphatically rejected a bid thought to be around £30m, announcing the snub in a withering statement that made clear their displeasure at Barca’s public pursuit of Fabregas.
A change of regime in Catalonia, which has seen Sandro Rosell replace Joan Laporta as president, has seen a more low-key approach, but has made no difference to Gunners chiefs’ willingness to entertain offers.
Manager Arsene Wenger is due back at Arsenal’s training ground today following the World Cup, but Fabregas is not expected to return until the end of the month, after a delayed summer holiday.
World Cup final hero Iniesta, meanwhile, said of the man who set up his winning goal: “His arrival would give us a huge jump up in quality. Everybody has spoken of the desire we have for him to be with us next season. We would be delighted.”