Barca hopeful of signing Fabregas and Villa
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that the club have opened talks with Valencia over striker David Villa, while he also admitted that the Spanish champions will move for Cesc Fabregas if he wants to return to Camp Nou.
Both players have been heavily linked with a move this summer, though Arsenal have strenuously denied on several occasions that they are ready to let Fabregas leave the club.
Gunners captain Fabregas stoked the flames of speculation last week by claiming: "I think I would like to go to Barcelona, whether or not they want me is another thing."
And Laporta could not hide his delight at the revelation, though he insisted it is the transfer of Spain striker Villa that is the currently the club's main focus.
"It is remarkable that the player has said that," Laporta said. "If the technical secretary [Txiki Begiristain] believes we must make an effort, we will do and will talk to Arsenal."
"We are in the negotiating process [with Villa] and everything is going in the right direction," Laporta added. "We hope it is resolved soon. Everything is on track and hopefully we can reach an agreement."
Laporta added that Barca "have set a specific date and will do what is best for the club."
The arrival of Villa would seemingly indicate that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's days at Camp Nou are numbered, and when asked about the Swedish striker's future Laporta was far from enthusiastic, saying: "He has a contract with us. We are satisfied."
On Thierry Henry, who has been heavily linked with a move to MLS with New York Red Bulls, Laporta added: "It's something we are talking with him about. We are working on this and what we are doing is reconciling the interests of the club and the player."
Barca vice president Rafael Yuste also admitted that the club are hopeful of securing the services of both Fabregas and Villa.
"Negotiations are progressing well especially in the case of Villa," Yuste told Ona FM. "The situation with Cesc is different because even if you have the will of the player it is very important to talk to his club and, if you can, find an agreement. But what makes it easier is that both players want to come to Barca."
The claims were also backed up by Barca club director Joan Oliver, who also mentioned Fabregas and Villa by name, though he was a little more coy about the progress of the potential transfers.
"Our team is like a puzzle," Oliver was quoted as saying in AS. "One feature is that it has no specific objectives, but it is true that we are focusing on three specific positions. For us it is a compliment that players like Villa and Fabregas have expressed their desire to play with us.
"These players are clear that they are top professionals, but there is a long process between when they produce such a statement and when they can be here."