Liverpool are leading the chase to sign £30million-rated Cesc Fabregas who is determined to return to England after Barcelona made it clear they are willing to sell him.
The relatively low fee for the 27-year-old midfielder, who was confirmed as part of Spain’s World Cup squad on Saturday, will tempt several Premier League clubs, but the Anfield side have a real chance of signing him because they are in the Champions League next season.
Fabregas’s availability will also test the willingness of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has a £100million transfer kitty, to return for his former captain.
But Arsenal are poised to make a move from Sven Bender, the 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund mid-fielder and with Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla already in the usual Fabregas role, the Gunners are likely to strengthen with a more defensive midfield player.
Arsenal have previously been interested in Bender’s twin brother, Lars, and bid £18m for him last summer, only to be turned down by Bayer Leverkusen.
Lars has since signed a new contract and is currently injured but Arsenal hope they can lure Sven from Dortmund with a £15m bid after he failed to make the Germany World Cup squad.
Wenger had not previously ruled out the return of Fabregas to the club, having maintained a good relationship with his former captain despite the fact that some supporters were unhappy with the manner in which he left in 2011
However, Manchester City and Chelsea are also likely to be attracted by the fact that Fabregas is available.
Brendan Rodgers’s ambitious Liverpool have already signed Rickie Lambert from Southampton and are still chasing his team-mates Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana. They have also shown an interest in Sevilla full-back Alberto Moreno.
Arsenal had a clause inserted in the contract when Fabregas left for £35m stating that Barcelona have to inform them if he is sold so that Arsenal could match any offer.
The Londoners would also share in any possible profit that Barcelona make over and above the fee of £35m that they received when he was transferred.
Barcelona, under new coach Luis Enrique, are making a move for Atletico Madrid midfield Koke, who may cost up to £48m. Would cesc go back to arsenal only time would tell.