Fabregas demands Arsenal aim high
Cesc Fabregas has warned Arsenal will not enter the new Barclays Premier League campaign thinking only of a fourth-placed finish - and intends to "improve everything" next season.
The Gunners skipper, 22, has seen another summer filled with rumours of his imminent departure, AC Milan now emerging as the latest big-name club to target the Spain international.
Fabregas, though, remains as committed to the Arsenal cause as ever.
Even though the squad may have lost Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure to Manchester City, the Gunners skipper has full confidence for the campaign ahead.
"We will never start the season thinking that we are going to finish fourth," declared Fabregas, whose last taste of silverware with his club was the FA Cup in 2005.
"Every big club goes through difficult moments and we are in one at Arsenal - but we have to be stronger than ever and stick together and I am sure we will be fine.
"For the last three seasons, we have been unlucky with injuries so hopefully this year we can all stay fit.
"The quality is here and I believe we can do it."
Speaking at the Arsenal Members' Day, held at Emirates Stadium, Fabregas added: "Individually, my target [for this season] is to improve everything, because at my age, I believe it is the right thing to do.
"Of course if I can score more goals than ever, the better it will be for the team."
Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere grabbed the headlines with an impressive display at the Emirates Cup last weekend, scoring twice in the 3-0 win over Scottish champions Rangers.
The 17-year-old is expected to be called up into the England Under-21s for the friendly against Holland.
Fabregas, who became the youngest player to represent Arsenal in the first team when still aged only 16, believes midfielder Wilshere proves just what talent the Gunners have down through the ranks.
"For every club you can have big names coming in, but when you have a talent that comes through the youth system, I think it is one of the proudest things for a club," said the Arsenal captain.
"You have seen Jack Wilshere in those two games and Fran Merida came here from Barcelona when he was 15 - now he is 19 so he has been working with Arsenal for four years and he has improved a lot.
"When I was injured I was training a lot with the reserves, and there is some really great potential in there."
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, is finalising his squad plans for the new campaign.
A move for former captain Patrick Vieira has been discussed, but Wenger's interest in Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh appears to have cooled as the French club hold out for a £15million fee.
However, Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud has now claimed they may be willing to reach a compromise to allow the player's "dream" transfer to come off.
Wenger, whose only signing has been Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen in a £10million deal from Ajax, has also been reported to be considering 22-year-old St Etienne midfielder Blaise Mutuidi, as well as Real Madrid forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos is in talks with Everton over a proposed switch to Goodison Park, with Wenger said to be keen on bringing in Sevilla centre-back Federico Fazio as cover.
Arsenal complete their pre-season campaign away to Valencia on Saturday, by which time they will know their opponents in the Champions League qualifier play-off with the draw taking place tomorrow.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Jose Mourinho uses forward Kenedy at left-back as frustration with Chelsea defence grows
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Blues' Twitter account jumps the gun, seconds before Joel Ward goal seals Eagles' victory
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2 player ratings: Who was to blame for Chelsea's defeat? Did Pedro impress on his home debut? Sako and Ward star
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK