'Unsettled' Fabregas left out in the cold by Wenger

 

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger increased the pressure on Cesc Fabregas when he suggested yesterday the Arsenal captain had lost his focus amid Barcelona's pursuit of him this summer.

Fabregas will not feature in either of Arsenal's games in the Emirates Cup this weekend against Boca Juniors today and New York Red Bulls tomorrow and Wenger did not hide his frustration at the Emirates yesterday. The 24-year-old has not played a single pre-season match in either Asia or Germany and has trained apart from the squad, citing a hamstring injury.

Wenger said: "He [Fabregas] will not be involved [this weekend] because he is not settled. He is coming back from an injury and is not settled with us. You know all the speculation which is around his position, that has to be sorted out soon.

"There is only one deadline [to sell Fabregas], it is on 31 August. The other deadline is for us to get everybody focused – the players who are really committed to the club, my energy and my focus goes on them. I cannot help the other situation, because it does not only depend on me, it depends on the players and on the other clubs."

Asked if he was concerned about Fabregas, Wenger said: "I'm not worried too much about that. I'm just worried that the player has to be completely focused and committed to our club. And at the moment he's coming back from an injury and we have to sort out that situation. He is the captain of our club and we have to make sure he is really focused on being with us."

With Barcelona dragging their feet over a £35m third offer of the summer, Fabregas remains in limbo. Wenger said again yesterday that he would not entertain selling the player for less than the club's valuation, understood to be £40m, and would not break that rule just for Fabregas's benefit.

"[Selling him for less than £40m] would mean that anybody who just wants to leave we will have to let him go. And for any price. It has to be that the three parties agree and that everybody is happy at the end. If there is only two who are happy and one is very unhappy it doesn't work. We have a responsibility towards our club and I have that responsibility to sell the players at a decent price. Or I take money away from my club. And that is not just to please one player."

Earlier Wenger said: "Frankly I don't know [what will happen with Fabregas]. Because as I told you I am not the complete master of the situation – it depends on Cesc. I always say he is torn between two loves – the club where he has been educated as a very young boy and the club where he has been educated from 16 onwards and given a chance. I personally can understand it – but of course we want to be certain about his complete commitment."

There was also a very thinly veiled criticism of Manchester City who, among others, have signed the Arsenal left-back Gaël Clichy this summer and have an interest in the Valencia midfielder Juan Mata, a long-term Arsenal target. Wenger said: "All over Europe our industry is in a very bad financial situation. All the clubs who live from the money which football generates do not buy. The only clubs who buy at the moment in Europe are ones who buy with money which is not generated by our industry."

Asked whether he was referring to City, Wenger said: "There are two categories of club – those who travel with sweat and those who travel with petrol. We are [one] who travel with sweat."

Wenger also joked that Paris Saint-Germain had become the "French Man City" after signing midfielder Javier Pastore from Palermo for £44m yesterday. Was Wenger jealous of the spending of City and Manchester United. "No, I'm very happy with the way we do things and with the players we develop, with what we try to achieve," he said.

On the prospect of signing Everton's Phil Jagielka and Mata, Wenger would not be drawn. "At the moment the rules are constructed in a way where it is forbidden to speak about one player. I know not everybody respects it, but I try to do as well as I can. Business will be done sooner rather than later."

The former Arsenal captain Thierry Henry, who will play his second game as an opposition player at the Emirates tomorrow, predicted yesterday that Arsenal's new £11m striker Gervinho would have a major impact. Henry said: "He's skilful, versatile and you'll see that in one-on-one situations, he's going to kill a lot of defenders in this league. He's fast, has great vision and everything to succeed at Arsenal. He is an Arsenal player and Arsène doesn't buy players who won't fit in his team."

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