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Fabregas confirms Arsenal stay

LONDON, August 6 – Cesc Fabregas has confirmed he will stay at Arsenal this season after conceding he won't get his wish to rejoin Barcelona.Fabregas met Arsene Wenger before the World Cup to ask the Gunners boss to let him move to Spanish champions Barca.

But the Spain midfielder, who quit the Nou Camp to join Arsenal as a teenager, was unable to persuade Wenger to accept Barca’s offers of around 30 million pounds (47.7 million dollars) and has now announced he will remain at the Premier League club.

"Firstly I would like to apologise to all the Arsenal fans for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known what I was going to do until this moment," Fabregas said in a statement to Sky Sports News.

"I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me.

"This was the club where I learned my football, it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing.

"There are not many players in the world who would not want to play for Barcelona.

"I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in person and over the phone over the last few months and although the content of those conversations will remain private, the conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected by Arsenal.

"I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal’s prerogative not to sell me."

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A host of Barca players had gone public with their belief that Fabregas was desperate to move to the club he supported as a boy, but Wenger’s determination not to be bullied into selling his captain has paid off.

While Fabregas has ended speculation over his future in the short term, it would be no surprise if Barca return with another bid at the end of the season.

The conclusion of the longest running transfer saga of the close-season will be a relief to Arsenal fans, who were desperate to see their best player stay in north London.

And Fabregas, who had refused to speak publicly about the situation until now, was quick to calm any fears that he would spend the next nine months sulking at his failure to get the move he desired.

"I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal," Fabregas said.

"I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused on playing for Arsenal.

"I am an Arsenal player and as soon as I step out on to the pitch, that is the only club I will be thinking about.

"I am looking forward to the start of the season and putting this speculation behind me."

Fabregas, who is under contract at Arsenal until 2014, returned to training on Thursday after a lengthy break following Spain’s victorious World Cup campaign.

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He was greeted warmly by 10,000 Arsenal supporters at a members’ day at the Emirates Stadium this week, with banners and chants making it clear how much they wanted him to stay.

With Fabregas on board and new signings Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny blending in well during pre-season, Wenger will now harbour hopes of ending the club’s five-year trophy drought.

Whether that will be enough to keep the 23-year-old in the long-term remains to be seen but, for now at least, Wenger and his club’s fans have got their way.

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