Liverpool's hopes of signing Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas look to have been boosted after several other clubs' interest in the Spanish star seem to have cooled.
The Catalan giants have informed a select group of Premier League clubs that Fabregas can leave the Camp Nou over the summer for £30 million, per Matt Law in the Telegraph. This is despite Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisting the 27-year-old was not for sale, per Daniel Feliciano of Sky Sports:
"We don't want to sell players," he said. "Barca do not want to sell Fabregas or any other players that may appear to be on the market."
However, early reports suggested that Manchester City and Arsenal, along with Liverpool and Manchester United, were all in for the former Gunner, who is eager for a return to the Premier League, per John Cross in the Mirror.
According to the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman and The Guardian's Daniel Taylor, rumours of interest from the Sky Blues are unfounded:
City's links with the player reportedly came due to Barca's eagerness to sign Sergio Aguero, with Fabregas seen as a potential part of a swap deal. However, any Aguero move away from the Etihad has been categorically ruled out, per Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo via 101 Great Goals.
Equally, Cross' report suggests the Gunners are not prepared to spend £30 million on their former player, despite the fact they have first refusal on Fabregas and may not want to see him go to a rival club.
A defensive midfielder is the priority for Arsene Wenger, who reportedly will be given £100 million to spend over the summer in order to improve a squad that fell out of the title race quite rapidly in the second half of last season, per the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel.
United's recently installed manager Louis van Gaal is supposedly not interested in putting in a renewed bid for the player they missed out on last season, per Law's report and football journalist Graham Ruthven:
Thus, it seems Liverpool are in the driving seat if Fabregas is indeed to return to the Premier League. The fact they are in the Champions League next season will be a draw for the midfielder, as will their impressive attacking play shown under Brendan Rodgers in the Premier League.
The Spain international would bring huge amounts of Champions League experience to Anfield as well as a built-in knowledge of the Premier League after his time in North London.
Transfer fees for world-class players have invariably been astronomical in recent years, so £30 million for proven quality is a relatively good deal.
Rodgers would do well to take advantage of the seeming lack of interest from the Reds' rivals and snap up Fabregas as quickly as possible. United, City and Arsenal may come to regret it.