Alberto Saiz/Associated Press
The Times (subscription required) is reporting that Chelsea are confident they will have a deal in place to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona before Spain's World Cup opener against Netherlands on June 13.
According to the paper, the Blues have lodged an initial bid of less than £27m but are confident of getting a deal done for around that sum as Barcelona look to raise the funds to sign their main target, Atletico Madrid's Koke.
Matt Hughes writes:
Chelsea are confident of securing Fabregas for a lower fee however, as they are aware that Barcelona need the money to fund the purchase of Koke, who had been their primary target.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder has made it clear he wants to stay in Spain however, which has led Chelsea towards Fabregas. They have also considered making bids for Paul Pogba, of Juventus, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Paulinho, but have concluded that Fabregas will be a more straightforward deal to complete.
Chelsea have yet to discuss personal terms with Fabregas, but will have no problem improving his existing £100,000-a-week wages and his agent Darren Dein is due to fly to Brazil next week for talks about his client’s future. Spain begin their World Cup defence with a repeat of the 2010 final against Holland next Friday, and a deal to take Fabregas to Chelsea could be in place before the start of the tournament.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal had previously been linked with Fabregas, but it appears the path has cleared for Chelsea to secure the midfielder's signature.