Fabregas out of Newcastle game as Barcelona continue pursuit

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The Independent Football

Cesc Fabregas will miss Arsenal's first game of the Premier League season at Newcastle United on Saturday as the club continues to negotiate with Barcelona over his transfer.

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger confirmed that the midfielder was "not injured" but that he was not prepared to play him at St James' Park after not featuring in any pre-season games this summer. Wenger left Fabregas out of the squad that flew to Portugal on Friday for yesterday'spre-season friendly against Benfica.

Arsenal had claimed that the Spain World Cup winner had been struggling with a hamstring injury since the end of last season, but the 24-year-old did rejoin training last week. Wenger suggested his omission from the start of the season was down to a lack of match fitness despite the Newcastle game being another week away. Reports in Spain suggested Arsenal turned down £35 million from Barcelona last week.

The Frenchman said: "I don't think Fabregas will be ready to start the season because he has been out for a long time and has had no games. He is just coming back from injury, but he is not injured."

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