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Arsenal captain Fabregas to miss Emirates Cup

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Cesc Fabregas will miss this weekend's Emirates Cup because he has been "unsettled" by continued speculation about a potential move to Barcelona

AFP, Friday 29 Jul 2011
Cesc Fabregas
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas
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Fabregas has been keen to join Barca for over a year but the European champions have so far failed to meet Arsenal's £40 million ($65.8 million) valuation of the Spanish midfielder.

It is thought Arsenal rejected Barca's latest offer of around £30 million earlier in the close-season and there has been no progress in talks between the clubs.

Wenger wants to keep his captain but he admits the saga has taken a toll on Fabregas, who has not featured in any of Arsenal's pre-season games as he makes a slow comeback from a recurring hamstring injury.

Speaking at Friday's press conference ahead of the Emirates Cup—a friendly tournament featuring Arsenal, Boca Juniors, Paris St Germain and the New York Red Bulls—Wenger said: "He is coming back from an injury and is not settled with us. You know all the speculation which is around his position, that has to be sorted out soon."

Wenger is growing increasingly concerned that Fabregas is unable to focus on his life at Arsenal while the lure of a return home to Barcelona, where he started his career, remains tantalisingly within reach.

The French coach is well aware of Fabregas's feelings after several meetings with the Spaniard but, although he understands the player's dilemma, he wants the situation resolved soon so the Gunners can focus on preparing for the new season.

"There is only one deadline, it is on August 31. The other deadline is for us to get everybody focused, the players who are really committed to the club, my energy and my focus goes on them," Wenger said.

"That is what I focus on, I cannot help the other situation, because it does not only depend on me, it depends on the players and on the other clubs.

"I'm just worried that the player has to be completely focused and committed to our club.

"At the moment he's coming back from an injury and we have to sort out that situation.

"He is the captain of our club and we have to make sure he is really focused on being with us."

Asked whether it would be better to simply allow Fabregas to leave, Wenger said: "Frankly I don't know. I don't master completely the situation - it depends on Cesc.

"I think he's in a moment when he thinks about it and it is a big concern.

"I always say he is torn between two loves - the club where he has been educated as a very young boy and the club where he has been educated from 16 onwards and he has been given a chance. I personally can understand it."

Fabregas won't be pleased to hear Wenger reaffirm his belief that Barcelona must meet Arsenal's asking price before a deal can be done.

"It would mean that anybody who just wants to leave we will have to let him go, and for any price," Wenger said.

"It has to be as well that the three parties agrees and that everybody is happy at the end.

"If there is only two who are happy and one is very unhappy it doesn't work.

"We have a responsibility towards our club and I have that responsibility to sell the players at a decent price. Or I take money away from my club. And that is not just to please one player."

Wenger is also hopeful France midfielder Samir Nasri will sign a new deal despite Manchester City's attempts to sign him for £25 million.

"Samir loves the club, like Cesc. They both do," Wenger said. "Every day we read that they are going somewhere but they are still with us."

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