Arsene Wenger does not believe Cesc Fabergas will leave Barcelona this year, but has hinted Arsenal would be interested if the Spain star was deemed surplus to requirements.
Fabregas left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011, but he has struggled to nail down a regular spot in a midfield containing Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
He has been linked with a move away from Barca this summer, with Manchester United reported to have made a bid for his services.
Wenger has been monitoring the situation and would be interested if Barca sanctioned a sale, but the Frenchman expects his former charge to fight on at Camp Nou.
“Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona,” Wenger explained. “Unless he has changed his mind, I don’t know… but that’s what I’ve been told.
“We have the [first-option] clause in the contract so we would be on alert but at the moment that’s not something we’re after.”
But United legend Bryan Robson is confident Fabregas could be bound for Manchester in the coming weeks.
When asked about the links with Fabregas and reports that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward left United’s Australian tour to secure a deal with the Barcelona midfielder, Robson said: “I think Fabregas is a fantastic player and hopefully he’s playing for Manchester United. So I hope Ed is very successful if that’s what he’s gone back to England to do.”
Also speaking at the official Manchester United lunch in Sydney, former United striker Dwight Yorke shared Robson’s optimism.
“Well if we can get him it would be a magnificent scoop, he’s a fantastic player, we know that. The great thing about him is that he has had so [much] experience in the Premier League.
“Him and Van Persie had a great understanding so we know he’s a top player and we would be delighted if we can get him because he’s been an outstanding player for the last five years or so.”