'I blocked Man Utd deal and Fabregas wanted me at Liverpool – now I may sign for Arsenal'

Cesc Fabregas once urged one Arsenal target to join Liverpool (Image: Getty)

Arsenal appear to be at the front of the queue to sign Monaco’s highly-rated midfielder Youssouf Fofana. The French international has been linked with a move to the Premier League for the last three years.

In the summer of 2022, former Gunners’ captain and ex-Chelsea hero Cesc Fabregas said the classy midfield star would be the perfect match for Liverpool. It’s understood Mikel Arteta is looking to bolster his midfield as both Thomas Partey and Jorginho will be entering the final year of their contract from June 30.

According to reports in France, the Gunners’ chief has identified Fofana as an ideal player to partner Declan Rice. French outlet Foot Mercato understands the Gunners are pondering over a move for the 25-year-old, who was also linked with a move to West Ham United last season.

Fofana managed to earn himself a place in Didier Deschamps’ France squad for this summer’s Euro 2024 competition in Germany. Ex-Arsenal skipper Fabregas is particularly familiar with Fofana’s game. 

The Spaniard was one of Monaco’s experienced players entrusted with guiding the tenacious midfielder in the early years of his time with the club. After playing alongside the Frenchman, Fabregas said he was more than ready for the Premier League. 

Instead of telling him to join his former club, though, Fabregas urged Fofana to join Liverpool, claiming his game was more suited to Jurgen Klopp’s intense playing style. In a 2022 interview with RMC Sport, Fabregas said: “When I came [to Monaco as a player], Thierry (Henry) and Vadim (Vasilyev) also asked me to help grow the young people. 

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Fofana has 17 international caps for France (Image: Getty)

“It was an important point. Today, I feel like I have won the respect and sympathy of this younger generation. I hope I have helped. We like each other. I will continue to follow them and exchange with them. I would like to see Fofana, (Sofiane) Diop or (Aurelien) Tchouameni at Bayern or Liverpool!”

At the start of last season, Erik ten Hag was believed to be an admirer of Fofana and even tried to sign him for Manchester United. However, Monaco sporting director Thiago Scruro claimed the midfielder rejected United so he could stay at Monaco. 

“He deserves most of the credit,” Scuro said to Nice Matin. “(Fofana) believes in our project and made the decision to stay longer at Monaco to continue his development. He has big ambitions with the French team and AS Monaco.”

Fofana rejected the opportunity to join United (Image: Getty)

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One year after snubbing the Red Devils, reports from France claim the Gunners have already held initial talks about bringing Fofana to the Emirates Stadium. The Frenchman has a year left on his contract and is now understood to be valued at around £20m. 

In a recent press conference, he said: “I have spoken about it with the hierarchy, it isn’t a secret. We had exchanges and they agreed to accompany me in this new stage.

“If [a move] doesn’t happen, I still have a year left and I will be happy to stay. We were in agreement that we would accompany each other in this process in which everyone should be a winner, be it me or the club.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1906338/Arsenal-transfer-news-Man-Utd-Liverpool-Fofana