Belfast Telegraph

Wenger: Fabregas key to future

Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal are at the start of another cycle of dominance - which must include captain Cesc Fabregas at the heart of the team.

Before he departed to the World Cup, Fabregas is understood to have told Wenger of his desire to leave and rejoin boyhood club Barcelona. Arsenal subsequently rejected a £30million offer from the Catalan club and Wenger remains confident his talisman will be fully focussed on playing his part for Arsenal next season.

"The best way to show you are committed is that you give your best when you walk on the football pitch and he has always done that," said Wenger.

"When you sign a contract it means we are committed to a player to pay him and keep him no matter what happens. There is a great attitude and spirit inside the squad and Cesc Fabregas can help us achieve these targets.

"He is now at an age, 23 years old, and he has just won the World Cup. I believe he will grow in authority again for next season. The biggest achievement for him now is to help us win the championship."

The Gunners are without a trophy since their FA Cup win in 2005 yet Wenger remains confident his young side will flourish and challenge for honours.

"We have to remind ourselves that we decided to go with a very young team three or four years ago and we have developed this team," said the Gunners boss.

"I believe that two years ago we were quite far, but last year in April we were two points away from the top.

"Normally we should be closer again because that development is part of a young team. I know that in England when you do not win the championship it's always about buying, but what is important is that we improve individually and as a team because we are a very young team.

"We are not a team that is at the end of a cycle, we are at the start of a cycle. So our future will be decided not by who we buy or need, but as well by how much we improve."

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