Fabregas believes in young Arsenal
Cesc Fabregas has insisted Arsenal will not enter the new Premier League campaign content to finish fourth, and promised to raise his own game to help them realise their goals. The Gunners captain has seen another summer filled with rumours of his imminent departure, AC Milan now emerging as the latest big-name club to target the Spain international.
Fabregas, though, remains as committed to the Arsenal cause as ever. Even though the squad has lost Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor and Côte d'Ivoire defender Kolo Toure to Manchester City, the 22-year-old has full confidence for the campaign ahead.
"We will never start the season thinking that we are going to finish fourth," declared Fabregas, whose last taste of silverware with his club was the FA Cup in 2005. "Every big club goes through difficult moments and we are in one at Arsenal.
"But we have to be stronger than ever and stick together and I am sure we will be fine. For the last three seasons, we have been unlucky with injuries so hopefully this year we can all stay fit. The quality is here and I believe we can do it."
"Individually, my target [for this season] is to improve everything, because at my age, I believe it is the right thing to do. Of course if I can score more goals than ever, the better it will be for the team."
Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere grabbed the headlines with an impressive display at the Emirates Cup last weekend, scoring twice in the 3-0 win over Scottish champions Rangers. The 17-year-old is expected to be called up into the England U-21 squad for the friendly with the Netherlands.
Fabregas, who became the youngest player to represent Arsenal when still aged only 16, believes Wilshere proves just what talent the Gunners have down through the ranks. "For every club you can have big names coming in, but when you have a talent that comes through the youth system, I think it is one of the proudest things for a club," he said.
"You have seen Jack Wilshere in those two games and Fran Merida came here from Barcelona when he was 15. Now he is 19, so he has been working with Arsenal for four years and has improved a lot. When I was injured I was training a lot with the reserves, and there is some really great potential in there."
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, is finalising his squad plans for the new campaign. A move for former captain Patrick Vieira has been discussed, but the Arsenal manager's interest in Bordeaux forward Marouane Chamakh appears to have cooled as the French club hold out for £15m.
However, Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud has now claimed they may be willing to reach a compromise to allow the player's "dream" transfer to come off. Wenger, whose only signing has been Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen in a £10m deal from Ajax, has also been reported to be considering 22-year-old Saint-Etienne midfielder Blaise Mutuidi, as well as Real Madrid striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Gunners defender Philippe Senderos is in talks with Everton over a proposed switch to Goodison Park, with Wenger said to be keen on bringing in Sevilla centre-back Federico Fazio as cover.
Arsenal complete their pre-season campaign away to Valencia on Saturday, by which time they will know their opponents in the UEFA Champions League play-off round. The draw will take place tomorrow.