Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu admits Cesc Fabregas’ decision to stay at Arsenal has come as a major blow to the Catalan giants.
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Barca chased the 23 year-old midfielder all summer and made two bids to bring the Spain star back to the club where he started his career, but Arsenal were unwilling to do business and the player himself released a statement on Friday confirming he will be staying in north London.
"The Cesc issue is over," Bartomeu told reporters in Beijing, where Barcelona are currently on a pre-season tour.
"It is a bad piece of news both in a sporting sense and sentimentally."
And Bartomeu admitted that Arsenal had never been willing to part with their prized asset.
"Arsenal never gave us a price for Cesc. They declared him non-transferable," he said. "The team still has weaknesses, but we’ll now look at home (to the youth team) first."
Bartomeu also revealed that out-of-favour trio Aleksander Hleb, Martin Caceres and Victor Sanchez are all set to leave the club on loan before the transfer window closes.
"We are looking for the best option for the players and for the club," he said.