Chelsea are convinced Spain international Cesc Fabregas is their player and are planning to complete his medical and transfer this week.
John Cross of the Mirror writes that the final touches of a £27 million deal are being completed, which will see Fabregas double his £100,000-a-week Barcelona wages and break Arsenal fans' hearts.
But Cross writes that Arsene Wenger decided not to activate his club's "first option" clause on Fabregas with his priorities lying in other positions, leaving the door open for Jose Mourinho.
It was thought Manchester United would strongly challenge Chelsea for Fabregas' signing after their public pursuit of the player last year, as explained by Andy Mitten in Manchester Evening News.
Mitten confirms United have no intention of entering into a long and protracted battle for Fabregas as they did last summer:
United changed their manager and Louis van Gaal’s view on Fabregas hasn’t been publicised, but United will not entertain another run-around like last year. That’s why Chelsea have come to the fore, given that they need to replace New York-bound Frank Lampard.
The Times' James Ducker confirmed this stance via his Twitter account:
Fabregas will now be expected to fill the huge gap left by Stamford Bridge legend Frank Lampard.
Positionally, Lampard played in a more withdrawn role for Mourinho last term and it can be expected that the Spaniard will be used in the same position, partnering Nemanja Matic.
But Fabregas will still give Chelsea a goal threat from this deeper area on the pitch. Last season the player scored nine goals in 45 La Liga and European games, per WhoScored.com, and also provided 14 assists.
Fabregas has a great Premier League pedigree and will undoubtedly improve Chelsea's squad. His versatility in midfield and excellent possession of the ball will strengthen Mourinho's core and make the Blues a more formidable opponent.
But the player will have much to prove again after a disappointing period back in Spain.
His dream was to move back to Barcelona when he was at Arsenal and that dream has now been shattered. Whether he can truly be happy at Stamford Bridge playing Mourinho's more defensive style is yet to be seen, but he now has the opportunity to show Catalan football fans what they will be missing.
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