‘Focused’ Cesc sorry for Barca circus

The 23-year-old Gunners captain’s future has been the subject of

speculation all summer, with Barca making clear in public terms

their desire to bring him back to the Nou Camp after coming through

the Catalan club’s academy. However, his immediate future now

appears to be at the Emirates Stadium and he said on Friday: “I am

a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal’s

prerogative not to sell me. “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. ” I can assure all the fans

that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused

on playing for Arsenal.” Fabregas admitted a move to Barca had been

an appealing prospect, but that he respected the club’s decision to

hold on to a player who is under contract until 2014. He added:

“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. “I cannot deny that joining a club

like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me. This was the club

where I learnt 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 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.” Arsenal announced on June 2 that they

had rejected an offer from Barcelona for their midfield star,

insisting they had “no intention of selling him”. Barca president

Sandro Rosell then warned on July 6 that his club would not be held

to ransom for Fabregas, saying a fee of 50 or 60million euros was

far more than they were prepared to pay. Rosell told radio station

RAC1 at the time: “The whole world knows he wants to come and that

we want to sign him. “It is a topic that has become so public and

that is the worst thing you can do with a transfer, because it

makes the selling club raise their expectations and you end up

paying over the odds.” Fabregas came through Barcelona’s youth

ranks before joining Arsenal at the age of 16. He returned to

Arsenal on Thursday after an extended break following his part in

Spain’s World Cup success, featuring in the official team

photograph and participating in an open training session at the