Fabregas faces public Arsenal reunion as team urges him to stay

Cesc Fabregas will make a very public return to Arsenal today: his first day back at the club after stating his desire to leave involves a team photocall and training session in front of 10,000 Arsenal members at the Emirates Stadium.

The Spanish World Cup winner is understood to still be keen on moving to Barcelona, having intimated to the club in June that he wanted to leave. However Arsenal have since turned down a £30m bid and are refusing to negotiate, leaving the potential transfer at a stalemate, with Barça unwilling or unable to increase their offer.

Fabregas will meet Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, today but it is unlikely now that his dream move will happen, at least not this summer. It leaves the midfielder facing an awkward reunion with his team-mates who have made it clear to their captain they are desperate for him to stay, watched intently by the club's most devoted fans.

Defender Thomas Vermaelen yesterday admitted the first-team squad have made their feelings known to Fabregas, one way or another. The Belgian defender said Fabregas knows just how much his team-mates hope he decides to stay. "It is between him and the boss," Vermaelen said yesterday. "They will make a decision if he wants to stay. He knows that we all want him to stay.

"He is a fantastic player, which is why he is so important for us. Last year, he played some very big games for us and scored a lot of goals. For us, he is really important. He is our skipper. The boss picked him because he is a leader. The way he plays, he also plays for the team. He is a complete player."

Vermaelen, 24, finds himself a senior figure in the Arsenal defence a year after his arrival from Ajax following the departures of William Gallas, Sol Campbell and Mikaël Silvestre. He is likely to face Liverpool on the opening weekend of the Premier League season with a new partner at the back in Laurent Koscielny, who joined recently for £8m from French side Lorient.

Arsenal are still looking to strengthen at the back and yesterday were in talks over a move for Bosnia defender Emir Spahic from Montpellier.

The 29-year-old is desperate for the move to go through, despite the club stating publicly that he will only be sold for £20m. A fee of £5m should be enough for the French side to agree to the deal.

Vermaelen said he is comfortable with taking on a more important role in the Arsenal team but said there are other players in the side who are also prepared to take on responsibility.

"If you look at the years, I am the oldest, but Bacary [Sagna] is here, and Gaël [Clichy] has been playing here a long time, they are experienced. And we have Laurent Koscielny now at the back, he did well in the Emirates Cup. We have to know each other's qualities and we do that in training."

Vermaelen insisted he and the whole club have to improve on last season if they are to win their first trophy since winning the FA Cup in 2005. "I was happy because I played a lot of games, and I got a lot of confidence from the boss" he said. "But I'm not satisfied yet, I think I can improve more, I want to learn more in my second year and just get better and better."

Thomas Vermaelen was speaking at the launch of Arsenal's partnership with Centrepoint, London's biggest youth homeless charity, the Club's Charity of the Season for 2010-11.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk