Fabregas to reject any advances from Madrid

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Real's new president, Fernando Martin, is under severe pressure to overhaul the underachieving club and a clear-out of the so-called galacticos is planned with a string of new signings to replace them.

Yesterday Martin said of Fabregas: "He is a very good player. He is young, with potential, desire and a big future. That is the kind of player we must sign. He fulfils the requirements of what Real Madrid needs."

Real also remain interested in Ashley Cole, who is regarded as a more realistic target. Fabregas, who was signed by Arsène Wenger from Barcelona, has been careful to make clear that he is flattered by Real's interest but is contracted to Arsenal until 2011.

An intriguing prospect would be if Real were to try to construct a deal which would involve David Beckham moving the other way. At present they want to retain the England captain, who is one of the few big-name players to have performed well. Arsenal are, however, interested in investigating whether Beckham could be signed.

Fabregas has been in outstanding form recently, not least in the Champions' League ties against Real, and was Arsenal's most effective performer in the victory over Liverpool on Sunday. Afterwards he spoke of the debt he owed Wenger and the "faith he puts in young players".

"It's not easy for the boss to put so many youngsters in the team because it's a risk," he said. "It's not easy when you have to put out a young team to get a result against Real Madrid but he's shown his confidence in us. Now we have to pay him back and repay his loyalty."