Transfers - Gossip Shop: Fabregas eyes exit

Eurosport - Sun, 29 Mar 23:27:00 2009

Cesc Fabregas has, for five-and-a-half years now, largely enjoyed his time in England.

FOOTBALL 2008-2009 FA CUP Arsenal Cesc Fabregas - 0

The Arsenal midfielder is far from the kind of player opposition fans love to hate and he rarely gets a pasting in the media. He's a nice boy, who can play a bit too, which of course always helps.

At least all the above was true until the unsavoury (alleged) spitting incident at full-time of the Gunners' FA Cup clash with Hull City the other week.

Since his (alleged) mouthful of flob splattered at the feet of Tigers' assistant boss Brian Horton, he has discovered what it is like to be on the receiving end of some rather vitriolic treatment by the press.

The Daily Mail was particularly angered by Hull boss Phil Brown 's allegations, labelling the Spaniard, horror of all horrors, a "hoodie" and by inference branding him unfit to walk the streets of our great nation, let alone celebrate his team's victory on the pitch.

Even The Sun, for whom Fabregas writes a column, decided to alert its readers to his prior phlegming form, which had previously been forgotten because he is Arsenal's club captain and, well, because he's a nice boy, isn't he?

So perhaps it is inevitable that we read in the latest edition of the News of the World that Fabregas wants out of Arsenal, indeed this whole damned country.

Fabregas has long been linked with a move back to his homeland, with Real Madrid and Barcelona the obvious choice of destination.

And despite his deal with the Gunners running until 2014, FIFA rules say Fabregas could buy out his contract in October, meaning a move in the January transfer window - for a cut-price 16 million - is a distinct possibility. At least he has refused to rule out the possibility.

"I would not close the door on anybody," Fabregas said. "Every player evaluates how things have gone and thinks about whether he is happy or whether he can improve his situation.

"I can't control what people say about me but it's a huge honour two of the biggest clubs in football are talking about me."

Another of those 'biggest clubs in football', Manchester City - who, amazingly, are not thought to be interested in Fabregas - could soon be bidding farewell to young England prospect Joe Hart .

Naturally, the keeper has lost his place in Mark Hughes's side following the arrival of the best keeper in the world (TM) Shay Given and, much like cross-town neighbour Ben Foster, he needs more regular action if he is to further his career.

"Joe knows our feelings with regard to his ability," Hughes told the News of the World.

"He is going to be England's outstanding goalkeeper for the next 10 or 15 years.

"Maybe just training day after day is not what he needs."

'Official' links are as yet sparse, so in their absence, GS will make a few up. How about a loan to Newcastle for starters?

No reason at all why not, especially considering the Toon are reportedly after a new keeper to replace Steve Harper. Even Celtic's Artur Boruc has been linked to the St James' berth, with a 4m bid being lined up for the charismatic Pole, who looked every inch a Championship goalkeeper during Saturday's blundersome display in Northern Ireland.

In other goalkeeping news, Sunderland shot-stopper Craig Gordon has threatened to quit the Stadium of Light if he does not win back his starting berth from Marton Fulop.

Britain's costliest keeper has also lost his place in the Scotland set-up and, like Hart and Foster, knows he needs regular football if he is to reclaim it.

"I want to get back in the first team but I would eventually consider my future if it came to that," the 9m man said.

Meanwhile, Newcastle are considering a 6 million bid for Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone, while GS regular Stewart Downing will be allowed to leave Middlesbrough if the club lose their battle against relegation. Both Spurs and Liverpool are believed to be interested in the England man, who would cost in the region of 15m.

And finally, Wigan's hopes of signing Amr Zaki on a permanent basis have been dealt a blow after the striker's Egyptian club El Zamalek slapped a 12m price tag on his head. And the Latics could be forgiven for baulking such an exorbitant amount, especially when Zaki's recent scoring record is taken into account - no goals in 2009.

Mike Hytner / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account