Pep: I respect Wenger's Cesc stance

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola believes Arsenal were right to pull out all the stops to keep Cesc Fabregas this summer and admits he would have done the same if he was in Arsene Wenger's shoes.

The Spanish champions did everything in their power to try and force Arsenal into parting with their prized asset, making at least two massive bids for the 23-year-old playmaker.

Fabregas had been under increasing pressure from a host of top Barca players this summer, as the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi all pleaded with the Arsenal talisman to rejoin the club he left as a teenager.

GEAR: Get the new Arsenal kits

But with the saga threatening to rumble on into the Premier League season, Fabregas finally put the issue to bed last Friday when he announced his intention to stay at Emirates Stadium for one more year, leaving Guardiola to express his respect Arsenal's stance.

"I understand Arsenal and I understand Wenger," Guardiola said. "I wouldn't have let him leave either," he told reporters after Barcelona wrapped up their Asian tour with a 3-0 win over Beijing Guoan last Sunday.

"I just hope Cesc carries on enjoying what is such a special and competitive league, the Premier."

Despite not adding the World Cup-winning midfielder to his exceptionally talented squad, Guardiola remains defiant about his plans for the upcoming season which gets under way on later this month.

"I'm not worried about those that aren't here, it won't affect any of our plans," he continued.

“The market is open until the end of the month and we will look to see what we can find, but there's no hurry. We have a great squad to compete in all competitions and that is our objective once more."

Barca get their season underway at Racing Santander in three weeks time, with Guardiola only adding clinical Spanish striker David Villa to his squad so far.

However, he could soon be joined at the Nou Camp by Werder Bremen midfielder Mesut Ozil, who is widely expected to complete his move before the transfer window closes before Guardiola renews his interest in Gunners star Fabregas at the end of the season.

By James Martini

Interact: Twitter * Facebook * Forums