Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas said he’s staying at the Premier League soccer club and won’t join Barcelona.
Fabregas, 23, had been linked with a return to the Spanish club from where he joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old. In a statement, the midfielder said the Gunners had rejected two formal offers from Spain’s champion.
“I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal’s prerogative not to sell me,” Fabregas said. “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 with Arsenal.”
Fabregas returned to training yesterday after helping Spain win the World Cup. He said he’d spoken with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger about his future over the past few month, but never made a public declaration where he wanted to play.
“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. “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.”
Barcelona players have made media comments saying Fabregas wanted to return to the club, while several teammates placed a Barcelona shirt over him during Spain’s World Cup celebration.
Fabregas, who scored a team-high 19 goals last season, said he is now focused on helping Arsenal win its first trophy since the 2005 F.A. Cup.
“I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 percent focused on playing for Arsenal,” he sadi. “I am an Arsenal player and as soon as I step out onto the pitch, that is the only club I will be thinking about.”
Arsenal begins its season on Aug. 15 at Liverpool.