Fabregas' stock rises


JOHANNESBURG, July 12 – Super-sub Cesc Fabregas's crucial World Cup cameo which helped Spain win the title looks certain to also open the door at Barcelona with his transfer value set to rocket.

After a frustrating time in South Africa, the Arsenal captain was summoned from the bench by Vicente Del Bosque with three minutes of regulation play left in the final against Holland, and the effect was devastating.

Having tested Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, Fabregas then teed-up Andres Iniesta’s extra-time winner with a clear-headed pass.

The knock-on effect will mean Barcelona having to up their initial offer of 35 million euros to Arsenal if they want to secure the signature of the 23-year-old.

Fabregas, however, was keeping his cards close to his chest when it came to discussing his future.

"All I can say is that this (World Cup victory) is for all the Arsenal players and fans, they are a world-class club. I am an Arsenal player and I am proud to be," he said after Spain’s 1-0 win.

Only last week, Barcelona’s new president Sandro Rosell insisted that the La Liga champions would not break the bank to land Fabregas.

"We won’t pay an unjustified sum. We won’t lose our heads over this business," said Rosell.

Fabregas has made it clear to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger that he wants to rejoin his boyhood club before the start of next season.

His all-round performance in Sunday’s disappointing final will have done his hopes of landing his dream move no harm at all.

"It has been a difficult tournament for me and I didn’t get to play so much," he said.

"Something inside me was telling me this was my chance. All my family wanted to come and be part of this.

"It has been a hard season, but now it doesn’t matter at all. This is one of the best moments of my life."

Fabregas found time to console Arsenal team-mate and Dutch forward Robin van Persie, who endured a wretched night at Soccer City.

"The first thing I had to do after the final whistle was go to Robin. Instead of celebrating with my friends, I wanted to talk to him," said Fabregas.

"He has been injured a lot and if it wasn’t us he was playing against, it would have been different. I hope he has has his chance again, because he is a great guy and a great leader."