Money matters killed Cesc and Masch moves

Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain has revealed that the Catalans failed to sign Premier League pair Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano this summer as they could not afford them.

Pep Guardiola's side have long been linked with a move for Arsenal captain Fabregas, who has made 163 league outings for the Gunners since arriving from Barca's acclaimed youth ranks in 2003.

However, the Spanish international has repeatedly pledged his allegiance to the Emirates Stadium for this season at least, while Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was reluctant to part company with Mascherano having already seen fellow midfielder Xabi Alonso depart for Real Madrid.

And, according to Begiristain, the European champions were priced out of moves for the midfield pair by arch rivals Real Madrid, whose £200 million summer spending spree on Alonso, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema increased the asking prices of Barca's targets.

"Mascherano and Cesc did not come because of financial difficulties," he told Sport.

"It was impossible to pay the kind of money asked for after the spending of Real Madrid."