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Premier League

Fabregas speaks candidly about Barcelona transfer

Cesc Fabregas understands why Arsenal felt allowing him to join Barcelona was "impossible" - but maintains the Gunners must find their "winning mentality" this season.

The 23-year-old is set to return from a hamstring injury for the visit of Birmingham on Saturday having not been in action during the international break.

Fabregas was close to returning to his boyhood club during the summer, only for Arsenal to stand firm as they rejected a £35million offer for their star midfielder whom they have nurtured since he was 16.

However, while the Spain World Cup winner can appreciate the reasons behind Arsene Wenger's stubborn stance, Fabregas warned another season without silverware at the Emirates Stadium cannot be tolerated.

"I maintain that I was right because (to play for Barcelona) is a dream I have had since childhood," Fabregas told radio station Cadena Cope.

"The truth is that the coach (Wenger) is like a second father to me. I told him what I thought. There were difficult moments.

"In the end, when I spoke to Wenger he told me 'no' - he was very emphatic, that the transfer was impossible."

Fabregas maintained: "I am satisfied for all parties. It wasn't to be and that's that, though in my head I keep thinking it could have been a good opportunity.

"But here (at Arsenal) I have everything. I am still happy. I am very comfortable here, I like the club, lead the team, play football.

"We just need to start winning titles because we have a wealth of quality. A winning mentality is missing."

Arsenal resume their quest for a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup having lost the last two Barclays Premier League games.

Defeat at Stamford Bridge has left the Gunners some seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea, and battling to hold onto their top-four place.

Wenger will be hoping his jet-setting squad return fit and well from international duty.

However, Arsenal have already lost right-back Bacary Sagna to a thigh problem picked up while away with France.

While the likes of Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Aaron Ramsey are all still a while away from a return to action, Wenger could be boosted by Theo Walcott being available this weekend, although the trip to Manchester City on October 24 is perhaps a more likely target for the England forward who suffered ankle ligament damage during the last international break.

Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) has also not featured since Blackburn on August 28, while England left-back Kieran Gibbs will be hoping the extra recovery time allows his calf injury to clear up.

Manuel Almunia could return in goal having missed two matches because of an elbow problem suffered during the shock 3-2 home defeat by West Brom.