Gunners reject Barça bid for Fabregas
Arsenal have turned down Barcelona's offer for Cesc Fabregas. The Catalan giants confirmed earlier today that they had submitted a written offer to the Gunners for the Spain midfielder, and that the clubs were in "formal" discussions over a possible deal.
But a statement from the London outfit read: "Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly valued member of the team and part of our future plans.
"We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment.
"However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain. To be clear, we will not make any kind of counter-proposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word."
Fabregas, 23, has been with Arsenal since joining them at the age of 16 from Barcelona, but last month expressed his desire to head back to Camp Nou when at an event in Catalonia.
"You see your (Spain) team-mates succeeding here and it is exciting because you have worked alongside them for so long," he said. "I think I would like to go to Barcelona. Whether or not they want me is another thing."
Fabregas's last appearance of the 2009/10 season came against his former club in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, as a fractured leg ended his campaign. However, he has recovered and has been included in Vicente del Bosque's 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Earlier today, when making their bid public, Barcelona had appeared hopeful of bringing him back to his homeland. "I'm hopeful he can sign for the club as soon as possible," said the club's vice-president Rafael Yuste.
"I'm optimistic and it is clear that he, his family, the players and the entire environment would give a very warm welcome. So we will not do anything to thwart his signing.
"We will not be in any kind of hurry, but we will not pause either. Now the ball is in Arsenal's court and, as we have an exceptional relationship with them, I am optimistic."
Throughout the speculation over Fabregas's future, Barcelona have always maintained that a deal would only be done with the co-operation of Arsenal. However, it remains to be seen whether they will make another offer despite the Gunners' firm stance on the future of their playmaker.