Belfast Telegraph

Fabregas unmoved by interest from Barcelona

Cesc Fabregas remains unmoved by interest from Barcelona as he begins negotiations over a new contract with Arsenal. Fabregas signed an unprecedented eight-year extension to his deal with the Gunners as recently as 2006, but the club have sought talks over fresh terms.

The length of the agreement has failed to dampen Barcelona's enthusiasm, however, with the Catalan club repeatedly linked with a bid for the 21-year-old.

Reports in Spain that Barcelona are also considering a possible summer move for Gunners manager Arsène Wenger as a replacement for the under-pressure Frank Rijkaard have added to the speculation over Fabregas's future.

But while Fabregas is flattered by the interest, he insists he will not be leaving north London. "I have a contract until 2014," said Fabregas in an interview on radio station Cadena Ser.

"I have six years remaining and I am talking with my club, who are interested in renegotiating it. I want to succeed at Arsenal and that the club wants me is fundamental for me. I am proud [to be linked to Barcelona], I am from Barcelona and I have played there. But now I only think of winning as many titles as possible here."

Fabregas has suffered a recurrence of a throat infection but is expected to feature in Saturday's FA Cup fifth round meeting with Manchester United, preparations for which are being overshadowed by Wednesday's Champions League match with Milan.

Minds may be straying to that tie but Abou Diaby is urging Arsenal to focus on landing a potentially decisive blow on United in the race for the Premier League. "I expect us to go to Old Trafford, play our football and win," he said. "The fact there's a Champions League match against Milan will not take an edge off the game. We want to play in every competition.

"Whether it's Champions League, FA Cup or Premiership, we want to win because Arsenal is a big club. Manchester United are a very good team with some massive players.

"They are doing very well this year and it will be tight between us, them and Chelsea for the title. Maybe if we beat United we'll get a psychological advantage over them for the title."

Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the Premier League table and are still challenging for silverware on three fronts. The form of Emmanuel Adebayor, who has scored in his last nine games, has been crucial to their success and Diaby toasted the Togo marksman.

"I'm not surprised by Adebayor because he's been working so hard to be very good," said Diaby, who will miss the United game with a calf injury. I'm very pleased for him and he'll do amazing things this season and in the future. It's not easy to adapt quickly to the Premier League but he's done very well."

Belfast Telegraph


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