Emirates Stadium stars going nowhere.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reaffirmed that club captain Cesc Fabregas will not leave the Premier League side for Champions League winners Barcelona this summer.
The Spain international is a product of the Barca youth academy and left the Catalans for Arsenal at the age of 16. In recent seasons, Fabregas has continually been linked with a return to Camp Nou, but Wenger has revealed his belief that the 24-year-old will remain with the club.
“The Spanish press has been speculating about this for ages now. Let me be clear about this: Fabregas has been with Arsenal for a long time and he will stay here,” Wenger was quoted as saying by Telefoot.
The French tactician then went on to discuss the future of playmaker Samir Nasri, who has also been linked with a move away from the Emirates, and expressed his hope that the attacking midfielder will commit himself to the Gunners.
The 23-year-old is contracted to Arsenal until the summer of 2012, and although he has yet to agree to an extension, Wenger added: “We want to keep him at the club. It is my wish that he stays. If he takes a look back he will see that he has come a long way with us. This is the right club for the player’s career.”
There has been a flood of speculation about a number of Gunners stars who may well seek to leave the Emirates Stadium after a sixth successive season without silverware and Arsene Wenger is wise to come out on the record about his intentions to keep both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri at the North London club, but is this something he can guarantee?
Clearly in the case of French international Nasri the issue is the fact that the former Marseille man has just a year left to run on his current contract which leaves Arsenal having to conduct something of a delicate balancing act between the need to keep the talented attacking midfielder and the need to not lose such a quality player for nothing next summer.
A number of sides are said to be interested in the 23 year old with the likes of Man United and Bayern Munich leading the chase for arguably last season’s Arsenal player of the year.
Clearly a transfer window does not pass which doesn’t see Barcelona linked with a move for their former star Fabregas and such a move would appear more and more on the cards given the fairly average season the Spanish midfielder put in last season.
At times the Gunners skipper seemed disinterested and whilst it would be hard to see how Cesc would fit into Pep Guardiola’s first eleven at the Nou Camp there are still many who feel such a move is inevitable. Wenger wants to assure the club’s supporters that Arsenal as a club has no intention of selling but there must still be a niggling doubt that if the player himself forced an exit then it would be just a case of setting a fee.