Barca deny deal with Fabregas

Catalan giants dismiss reports Arsenal captain has agreed five-year contract

Barcelona "flatly deny" they have reached an agreement with Cesc Fabregas that would see the Arsenal captain return to the Nou Camp at the end of the season. Reports in Spain suggest Fabregas, who has always said he would love to play for Barca, has come to a verbal agreement with the Catalan giants and will sign a five-year contract in the summer.

However, Barca have released a statement dismissing such reports. It read: "Given the exceptional repercussions created by the stories that have appeared in different media with respect to an agreement with Arsenal FC player Cesc Fabregas, Barca flatly deny that there have been any negotiations or agreements with the player.

"In accordance with Fifa regulations, FC Barcelona's contract policy has always made it a priority to negotiate with the club of origin before making any particular agreement with the player.

"FC Barcelona wishes to stress that it has always maintained excellent institutional relations with Arsenal FC."

Fabregas has long been linked with a move back to Barca, where he spent six years as a youth-team player before joining Arsenal in 2003. The 22-year-old is enjoying his best campaign yet and has scored 11 goals in 20 Premier League appearances this season.

Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh insists he has not agreed a deal to move to Arsenal but admits he is unlikely to remain at the Stade Chaban Delmas once his contract expires at the end of the season.

Chamakh has long been linked with a move away from the Ligue One giants and has always professed his desire to move to the Premier League.

Reports this week suggested the Moroccan international had signed a pre-contract agreement with Arsenal, who were one of the clubs that had a bid for the forward turned down last summer.

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, maintained yesterday that no deal has yet been done and Chamakh has reiterated that stance.

"I haven't yet signed at Arsenal," he told French reporters. "But as the days pass I feel less and less a Bordeaux player."

Chamakh, 26, was Bordeaux's leading scorer last season when he fired them to the league title; he has scored nine goals so far this season.

Meanwhile, Fifa has no plans to review the controversial transfer window system despite vociferous criticism from a plethora of senior footballing figures. Numerous managers and players have hit out at the current set-up, which only allows clubs to purchase players between July and the end of August, and then in January. The recent January transfer window saw overall spending by Premier League clubs nosedive to £30m from £170m last year – the lowest total since the system was introduced in 2003.

"For the time being, FIFA is not considering reviewing the principles of the regulations on the status and transfer of players which includes the registration periods," a Fifa spokesperson said.

Fifa refused to comment on the legality of the transfer window system, while the Football Association confirmed that it is unable to change the transfer system as it is a member association of the world governing body.

Many believe the current system drives up prices of players and contracts and therefore does not encourage financial responsibility, particularly from buying clubs.

Last week Sunderland's Steve Bruce became the latest high-profile critic of the system by predicting it would only be a matter of time until the transfer windows were challenged in the courts by footballers.

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