Friday, August 6, 2010

Fabregas Confirms His Loyalty To Arsenal

Arsenal have won the race to keep captain Cesc Fabregas at the club.

Fabregas has been at the centre of a summer-long conflict between the Gunners and Spanish champions Barcelona, who had a £30million bid rejected for the star in June.

Barca president Sandro Rosell and the club's players have conducted a very public attempt to try to persuade Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that he should allow Fabregas to return to the club where he began his career.

Nevertheless, Arsenal's chances of keeping the 23-year-old received a big boost on Thursday when the Spaniard returned to the Gunners' north London home for a training session in front of fans for the club's members' day.

Fabregas, who along with Robin van Persie had been given extra time off following their World Cup exploits, also lined up alongside his team-mates for the official team photo.

Former Gunners captain Kenny Sansom, who was a special guest at Thursday's event, is convinced that Fabregas is staying at the club.

He told Press Association Sport: "I've had a chat with Arsene Wenger and he told me he's going to stay, which is great news.

"It's a good day for the club, with all the fans being here to see Cesc back here, they all look up to him and it's great news that he's stopping."

Fabregas received a standing ovation from around 7,000 supporters at the Emirates.

The midfielder seemed at ease with his team-mates throughout the 90-minute session, and waved to the crowd occasionally.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson, who spent 11 years at the club, is also confident that Fabregas will stay.

"Today is the clearest indication you can get that he will stay," the 68-year-old said.

"If you look at the team photo for the 2010-2011 season, he is at the front of the picture.

"There will be an announcement soon that tells everyone that Cesc Fabregas is going to stay at the Emirates Stadium for this season, and for maybe longer."

Fabregas is thought to have told Wenger he wanted to leave Arsenal to return to his boyhood club before he left to join Spain's victorious World Cup campaign in South Africa.

Barca, who had have not made another official bid since seeing their first effort fail in June, recently had to take out a 150million euro loan to pay their players, fuelling speculation that they would not be able to afford to buy Fabregas, especially after they parted with more than £20million to sign Valencia's David Villa this summer.

Wilson criticised Barcelona's attempts to sign Fabregas and believes the Spanish club severely undervalued the Arsenal skipper.

He added: "I think everyone have been worried and everyone have seen that the way that Barcelona has handled things has been totally wrong.

"People have been comparing the possibility of Cesc going with Ronaldo going last year. Real Madrid paid £80million for Ronaldo. They over-paid.

"Barcelona at this moment have offered a very paltry amount for a player who is one of the greatest players on earth."

After overseeing his development since arriving as a 15-year-old, Wilson believes that Fabregas owes Arsenal at least another season at the club.

"I don't think we need to tell him that everyone at the club loves him," said Wilson.

"He has a second father at the club in Arsene Wenger and I think Arsene will be able to get his head around the fact that he is an Arsenal player and not a Barcelona player.

"Cesc owes a lot to this club in the same way that this club is very appreciative of everything that he gives to it."

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