LONDON - Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas
ended speculation linking him with a move back to La Liga
champions Barcelona by confirming his commitment to the Premier
League club on Friday.
"Firstly I would like to apologise to all the Arsenal fans
for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known
what I was going to do until this moment," the 23-year old Spain
midfielder said in a statement on Arsenal's website.
GEAR: Get a Fabregas shirt
"I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an
attractive move for me... There are not many players in the
world who would not want to play for Barcelona," he added.
"This was the club where I learnt my football, it is my home
town where my friends and family are and a club where I have
always dreamed of playing.
"I am a professional and I fully understand that it is
Arsenal's prerogative not to sell me... I can assure all the
fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent
focused on playing for Arsenal."
Fabregas, a Barca youth player, had been heavily linked with
the Catalan club, who had two bids turned down in the close
season, including a 29 million-pound offer,
according to British media reports.
Barca said in a brief statement on their website later on Friday they were sorry about
"FC Barcelona regrets Arsenal FC's decision to declare the
player non-transferable and to have not wanted to assess the
offers made," the La Liga champions said.
"None of those (offers) exceeded 40 million euros in fixed and variable fees," they added.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has remained adamant
since the end of last season that Fabregas would remain at the
club, this week called on his young captain to end the
speculation surrounding his future.
"I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in
person and over the phone over the last few months and although
the content of those conversations will remain private, the
conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected
by Arsenal," Fabregas continued.
"I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will
respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new
season ahead with Arsenal."
The midfield playmaker, who joined Arsenal in 2003, is a
popular figure at the north London club and will be a key figure
in their quest to win a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup. They
have not won the Premier League since 2004.
Fabregas helped Spain win Euro 2008 and last month's World
Cup, providing the pass that sent Andres Iniesta through to
score the winning goal against Netherlands in the final.
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