Barcelona make first bid to sign Cesc Fàbregas

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Barcelona have stepped up their bid for Cesc Fàbregas after the club's chief executive announced on Wednesday that they have made an official offer for the Arsenal star.

The 23-year-old has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to return to Barça, the club where he plied his trade as a youngster before moving to the Gunners seven years ago.

Last month the 23-year-old held talks with Arsène Wenger during which he is understood to have informed the Frenchman of his desire to head back to the Camp Nou.

"Everyone knows that Cesc wants to play for this club and everyone knows that we also want this," Barça chief executive Joan Oliver told the club's official website.

"But there is a third major player, which is Arsenal.

"Any deal must go through them and June 1 was the beginning of the period of official negotiations.

"Until earlier there were informal conversations, but since yesterday these are formal - and the usual mechanism is to present a formal and concrete offer.

"So yesterday afternoon, we submitted a written bid to Arsenal."

Barcelona vice-president Rafael Yuste added: "I hope he can sign as soon as possible.

"I am optimistic and it goes without saying that he and his family will get a very warm welcome.

"We won't do anything to ruin the signing. We won't be hasty but nor will we let up.

"The ball is in Arsenal's court now and as we have an exceptional relationship with them I am optimistic."

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