Cesc Fabregas.
Real Madrid to fight Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas

Real Madrid is set to offer Arsenal £45m for their captain Cesc Fabregas. According to reports in the Metro, Jose Mourinho is set to make a major transfer bid to land the Spaniard and Mourinho has set a plan in motion aimed at ruining Barcelona's summer plans.

The newspaper claims that an unnamed Arsenal official has suggested that the Gunners will be willing to part company with their captain once an improved offer returns from the Nou Camp. With Barcelona not able or unwilling to pay more than around £35m for the midfielder, Jose Mourinho now senses an opportunity to scupper any transfer deal. Barcelona will be worried that such an inflated offer from Real Madrid will encourage Arsenal to demand the £45m they expect for the player.

Darren Dein, Cesc Fabregas' agent has denied that his client will even consider a move to the Bernebeu and has said that if Fabregas is to leave Arsenal he will only move to the Nou Camp. Such a move from Real Madrid will present Barcelona with a simple choice. Either they match Real Madrid's offer or miss out on the player they have coveted for the past three summers.

Reports from Spain suggest that Jose Mourinho is lining up a sensational move for Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien. Mourinho signed Essien for Chelsea and will attempt to use his strong relationship with the player to convince him to move to Madrid. Mourinho is keen to capture the midfielder and is ready to offer a 'phenomenal' sum of money for the player.

Michael Essien has four years left on his current deal and is reportedly earning £110,000 a week but Madrid are willing to double Essien's wages to convince him to move to the Spanish capital. Roman Abramovich will reject any transfer for the player but Madrid is hoping Essien will hand in a transfer request.

However, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, Real Madrid has accepted defeat in their bid to sign Inter Milan defender Maicon. The Brazilian defender has been the subject of much speculation regarding a transfer to Real Madrid, however a representative for the player has denied Maicon will be leaving the club. Real Madrid is thought to be in the market for a new right back as a replacement for Chelsea target Sergio Ramos.