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Fabregas commits future to Arsenal

"Firstly I would like to apologise to all the Arsenal fans for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known what I was going to do until this moment," the 23-year old Spain midfielder said in a statement on Arsenal's website.

GEAR:Get a Fabregas shirt

"I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me... There are not many players in the world who would not want to play for Barcelona," he added.

"This was the club where I learnt my football, it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing.

"I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal's prerogative not to sell me... I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused on playing for Arsenal."

Fabregas, a Barca youth player, had been heavily linked with the Catalan club, who had two bids turned down in the close season, including a 29 million-pound offer, according to British media reports.

Barca said in a brief statement on their website later on Friday they were sorry about Arsenal's decision.

"FC Barcelona regrets Arsenal FC's decision to declare the player non-transferable and to have not wanted to assess the offers made," the La Liga champions said.

"None of those (offers) exceeded 40 million euros in fixed and variable fees," they added.

FIRM STANCE

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has remained adamant since the end of last season that Fabregas would remain at the club, this week called on his young captain to end the speculation surrounding his future.

"I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in person and over the phone over the last few months and although the content of those conversations will remain private, the conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected by Arsenal," Fabregas continued.

"I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal."

The midfield playmaker, who joined Arsenal in 2003, is a popular figure at the north London club and will be a key figure in their quest to win a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup. They have not won the Premier League since 2004.

Fabregas helped Spain win Euro 2008 and last month's World Cup, providing the pass that sent Andres Iniesta through to score the winning goal against Netherlands in the final.

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Gregg Davies is the Chief Sub Editor of FourFourTwo magazine, joining the team in January 2008 and spending seven years working on the website. He supports non-league behemoths Hereford and commentates on Bulls matches for Radio Hereford FC. His passions include chocolate hobnobs and attempting to shoehorn Ronnie Radford into any office conversation.