Chelsea have opened formal negotiations with Barcelona over the potential signing of Cesc Fábregas, and, while no fee has as yet been agreed for the Spain international midfielder, there is optimism on both sides that a deal will soon be struck.

Fábregas is resigned to leaving the Camp Nou after three seasons back at the Catalan club and is available for £30m, with Barça intent on prising Koke from Atlético Madrid to kickstart Luis Enrique’s tenure as their new manager. With Arsenal having indicated they will not take up their option to re-sign their former captain, and Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool having prioritised strengthening other areas of their teams, the 27-year-old’s desire to return to the Premier League can only be satisfied with a move to Stamford Bridge.

The Chelsea manager, José Mourinho, has confirmed his interest in securing Fábregas and has acknowledged that he is seeking a transfer back to England, where he made his name over eight seasons at Arsenal. The Portuguese has already lost one midfielder after Frank Lampard’s departure under freedom of contract. “We have some interest [in Fábregas],” said Mourinho. “I have interest in analysing the situation.

“I think it looks like he’s really interested in leaving Barcelona and is very, very interested in coming back to England. This, I think, is clear. There is a process where he wants to leave, [and] he wants to come to England because it’s the country where he wants to be, where he prefers to play. We are interested in monitoring the situation.”

The midfielder is currently preparing for the World Cup with the Spain squad in Washington, where they play El Salvador on Saturday before travelling to Brazil 24 hours later. He would ideally like his future to be determined before the national team begin their defence of the trophy against Holland on 13 June. A firm bid from Chelsea would force Arsenal to reiterate that they do not wish to take up their option but, while Fábregas is disappointed his former club are not keen to pursue his signature, he is open to a return to London despite previously enduring a rather fractious relationship with Mourinho.