Fabregas confident Wilshere will fill his boots at Arsenal

As Spaniard is unveiled at Barça he urges Gunners to back manager Wenger while two clubs are at odds over transfer fee

Cesc Fabregas said not lifting a trophy as Arsenal captain was the biggest regret of his career as he finally signed for Barcelona yesterday. He spoke of the routine disappointment at the Emirates that wore him down, but tipped Jack Wilshere as a future England captain and urged supporters not to lose faith in Arsène Wenger.

As he finally donned the Barcelona No 4 shirt in front of 25,000 supporters the two clubs were still contradicting each other over his final price. The Catalans claimed to be paying €14.5m (£12.8m) now and the same amount in October with the total finally rising to €40m. Arsenal have the same figures – but in sterling, representing a better deal for the Gunners than Barça would have their fans believe.

A 50 per cent sell-on has also been agreed although, with Barcelona slapping a €200m buyout clause on their new player and Fabregas having been angling for the move for three seasons, the chances of him going anywhere soon seem remote.

"I spent a third of my life at Arsenal – eight years," he said. "That makes this a very sad moment for me but life goes on. No player is bigger than the club. I am sorry I couldn't say anything for the last two and half months, Arsenal would not allow me to talk. I still have a great relationship with the fans and I am disappointed to have maybe lost the affection of some of them.

"I gave everything for them. It did not show in the trophy cabinet because I only won one FA Cup and that is the biggest regret I will have in my career: not being able to lift a trophy as Arsenal captain. But I am sure that they will be a strong team again. I will watch them every weekend and I will go to Arsenal whenever I can. What they have done for me is unbelievable."

Arsenal's future prospects now rest in the hands of Wenger and young midfielders Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsay. Fabregas praised all three, suggesting Wilshere could even replace him as Arsenal's youngest captain.

"There is not even a question over whether or not Arsenal's midfield is in good hands. Jack will be the England captain inside the next two or three years, you don't have to be a magician to work that one out. As for Aaron: his engine is unbelievable, his final ball will get better and he will be the next big star at Arsenal. They are winners and they will be amazing for the club."

Fabregas admitted that failing to win had played a part in his desire to leave. "It's not just that we did not win titles, it was the routine. You always went through the same thing with the same end result – the finals we messed up in and the semi-finals, too. Those defeats were always hard to take."

But there were no recriminations for Wenger, whom he called "the most important person I have met in the game. "Wenger is a second father for me," he added. "I will never have enough words to thank him for what he has done. There is a bad image of him here [in Spain] – but I know what he is like and I know I am here largely thanks to him. I spoke to him on Friday to say goodbye and got so emotional I could not even talk when I wanted to say how grateful I was for what he has done for me, so I had to send a message afterwards. If Arsenal want to keep being the club they should be then they have to be always under his control."

Ahead of tonight's first-leg Champions League qualifier against Udinese, Wenger yesterday said: "You can create an auction for Cesc between Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City and you will certainly get more money but he just wanted to go to Barcelona.

"We sold Cesc for a reduced fee. If he was on the market to any club we would have got more money but we did want to get a decent fee. That's what I'm paid for. You cannot say because you want to get the deal done as quickly as possible: 'Just take him and give us what you want.' You fight for your rights.

"Cesc gave us eight years. It was a pleasure to work with him on a daily basis. It was a pleasure to watch him – every day – playing football. And I'm sure it was a pleasure for you as well to watch him to play. So that's part of life. Maybe he will come back one day to the club, you never know. I would prefer him in an Arsenal shirt. But that's part of life."

Fabregas added: "He [Wenger] did not want me to leave for €29m, €50m, even €80m but in the end I think my own will convinced him. I am grateful that he respected my wishes." And he admitted he now faces the challenge of breaking into a midfield that boasts three World and European Champions in Sergi Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.

"This is a different challenge to the one that confronted me when I went to Arsenal. I played a Champions League final, I was captain at 21, at a World Cup at 18, everything happened very young. It has been a great experience for me but I know I have a lot to learn – and I know that I can learn it with [Pep Guardiola]."

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas