AW: I’ll fight to keep star pair

The Gunners once again have endured a summer of transfer

speculation surrounding Spain international Fabregas, with

Barcelona lodging a £27million bid which was rejected. Nasri

has yet to commit himself to the club, with his current deal set to

expire in 12 months’ time, and Manchester United are said to be

ready to test Arsenal’s resolve with a £20million offer.

However, as he prepares the squad for a tour to the Far East, which

Fabregas is set to miss with a troublesome hamstring, manager

Wenger maintains both men are key to the future of the team.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Wenger said: “Our position

is always the same, we want to keep Cesc and I will fight as hard

as I can to keep him. “Samir Nasri is exactly the same. We will do

everything we can to keep him.” Barcelona seem determined to bring

their former youth player back to the Nou Camp, but on the other

hand have no intention of being held to ransom over Arsenal’s

£40million valuation. For his part, Fabregas does not want to

leave the club he joined as a teenager in 2003 on bad terms.

Whatever transpires during the summer transfer window, it is a blow

to Arsenal that their captain will now not play during what is an

important trip aimed at boosting the club’s brand in Asia, with

games set for Malaysia and China. Wenger said: “We will take the

strongest possible squad, but Fabregas will not travel because he

still has a small muscular problem. He will stay and practice here.

“There is a doubt about [Emmanuel] Eboue who has done his calf.”

While Fabregas may not be heading out to Asia, Arsenal have

included Japan youngster Ryo Miyaichi, who has returned after a

successful loan spell in Holland at Feyenoord. Wenger, though,

rejected suggestions the 18-year-old’s participation was purely a

cunning marketing ploy. “He is on the plane because he is quality,”

the Arsenal manager said. “It is a good opportunity for him to show

that he has the talent to play for Arsenal. “Everybody will be

curious to see him play in Asia.” Gervinho is understood to have

undergone a medical, with confirmation of a four-year deal expected

shortly. Arsenal are also expected to step up their pursuit of

£17million-rated Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill, while reports

in Spain suggest Emirates Stadium is the preferred destination of

Valencia’s Under-21 Spain midfielder Juan Mata, whose buy-out

clause would be around £20million. Although not being drawn on

specific targets, Wenger confirmed he was looking for some more

fresh faces to bolster a squad which imploded on all fronts after

losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham at Wembley. “I can

promise you that we will work very hard and we have had some long

nights to achieve what we want to achieve,” he said. Wenger

certainly has funds available, with full-back Gael Clichy sold to

Manchester City last week in a reported £7m deal. However, the

Gunners boss rejected suggestions he would buy just for the sake of

it. “If there were an obvious choice, people would have already

made their decisions,” Wenger said. “Everybody needs the same

players for the same positions. We are at the top level and

therefore need exceptional quality to strengthen our side. “I can

understand that people say ‘you have money, just go out and buy’,

but it’s not only that, we want to find the quality we need.”

Wenger also believes the failings of the final weeks of the last

campaign can serve to inspire his men for the challenges ahead. “I

have said many times that we were very close to winning things last

season, despite the disappointment we had at the end. I hope that

provokes a response from my players,” he added. “We were so close

this time we want to come back and achieve it. “My responsibility

is first of all not to lose players and then to add and make us

stronger. “Let’s hope we can bring in one or two more additions of

top quality.”