Wenger tells Fabregas: 'leave Barça deal to me'

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The Independent Online

Cesc Fabregas has given the clearest indication yet that he will not be an Arsenal player next season. Speaking at Spain's training camp in Madrid he revealed that after the heart-to-heart with Arsène Wenger in which he expressed his desire to return to Barcelona he was told by the coach he idolises, "leave everything to me".

Fabregas said: "I had a long conversation with Arsène, It was probably the greatest conversation I've had with someone in my life. I respect him so much and I don't want to say too much about it but he told me to concentrate on my football and on the World Cup and to leave it in his hands. So that is what I am doing. He will deal with whatever happens in my future and I'm just concentrating on football."

The fact that Fabregas was reassured by Wenger's response, having just asked his manager for a move, would indicate that the Frenchman intends to respect his captain's wishes but only after he has squeezed every last euro out of Barcelona – be that with the out-going president Joan Laporta or the likely new incumbent, Sandro Rosell – and properly lined-up Fabregas's replacement.

That interpretation corresponds with comments made by Fabregas's father Francesc two days ago in which he said: "I get the feeling they [Arsenal] don't want to sell him but that they will give in eventually."

The last time Fabregas appeared before cameras in Spain, just over a week ago, he appeared openly excited about the prospect of moving to Barcelona, enthusiastically confirming that he would only leave Arsenal to return to the side he supported as a boy. This time the emotion was all directed at his supporters in north London. He said: "I will say only one thing – I have got massive respect for Arsène Wenger, Arsenal football club and the Arsenal fans. Even in my own house, I have not felt as loved as I have at Arsenal."

Fabregas also said he deeply regretted missing the most important part of last season because he was playing well enough to lead Arsenal to a trophy. He added: "It was really disappointing to miss the last two months because we were fighting for the league and the Champions League and I felt I was in the best form of my career."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he would not pay over the odds for Fabregas. "The Cesc operation that we want to do is very complex," he said. "There is an open line of communication with the people at Arsenal who we have known for many years. I have not said that I wanted the deal done before 30 June. It will take time and I will not pay over the top just so that it can be done while I am still the president." Barcelona will install a new president on 14 June but Laporta does not officially leave office until the last day of the month.

The Arsenal midfielder was joined yesterday by another Premier League star linked with a move away from his club this summer but Fernando Torres was offering fewer clues about his future. Torres said: "My future is the World Cup; we'll see later what happens after that. My future now, and for the next two months hopefully, is Spain and the World Cup." Questioned about Liverpool's lack of stability he added: "I talk with the chief executive and with Rafa [Benitez] every week and I'm aware of the situation but recently I have tried to stay apart so as to re-focus on the national team."

Manchester City and Chelsea have meanwhile been told that they can have striker Sergio Aguero without even negotiating if they put €60m (£51m) into Atletico Madrid's coffers.

The Argentinian striker has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and president Enrique Cerezo made reference to Spain's system of setting buy-out clauses that leave a club with no option but to sell when he said: "I want to make it clear once again that players have contracts with a buy-out clause, and that has a determined sum of money [€60m in the case of Aguero] and if a club wants the player and he wants to go then they don't even have to come and see us, they just put the money in the bank."

The Atletico coach Quique Sanches Flores seemed to pave the way for Aguero's exit when he said: "There are many ways to build a team. Either with or without him we will have a great side and the fans should not be concerned."

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