Monday 11 December 2017

Fabregas not under orders to attend Members' Day

Simon Peach, Press Association Sport

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has not been specifically instructed to attend tomorrow's Members' Day and the Gunners will not be taking team photographs both with and without the wantaway midfielder.

The 24-year-old has been the subject of transfer speculation linking him with a move back to former club Barcelona throughout the summer, while bitter rivals Real Madrid have also reportedly shown an interest in the Spain international.

Fabregas was criticised for leaving midway through Arsenal's Emirates Cup clash with Boca Juniors on Saturday and reports emanated today that the club have been forced to instruct him to attend tomorrow's annual Members' Day.

However, Press Association Sport understands that is not the case as the Gunners expect all of their squad - including Fabregas - to be in attendance.

It is also understood that reports suggesting the club are considering taking club photos with and without Fabregas are unfounded.

It was suggested that one photo would see the Spaniard in the centre of the front row, while another would have Holland international Robin van Persie in the captain's role.

Fabregas resumed training this week following a hamstring complaint and is expected to make his first pre-season appearance in this weekend's friendly with Benfica.

While Fabregas may play the Portuguese side, the saga over his future continues to roll on - Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta would not be drawn on the situation today - but manager Arsene Wenger warned last week it would not be allowed to continue indefinitely.

"He is coming back from an injury and is not settled with us," he said.

"You know all the speculation which is around his position, that has to be sorted out soon."

He added: "I'm just worried that the player has to be completely focused and committed to our club.

"At the moment he's coming back from an injury and we have to sort out that situation.

"He is the captain of our club and we have to make sure he is really focused on being with us."

Asked the current situation, Zubizarreta said: "We won`t discuss the negotiations about Fabregas. We will have time for that.

"We must be respectful of the club Cesc belongs to. You just have to let things happen without being optimistic or pessimistic."

While Fabregas' future remains uncertain, young centre-back Kyle Bartley has committed his future to the north Londoners by penning a new contract.

The 20-year-old is believed to have signed a two-year extension that will keep him in north London until 2014.

Bartley spent spells on loan with npower Championship outfit Sheffield United and then Scottish Premier League champions Rangers last season, making 32 appearances overall.

Bartley's progress has now been rewarded with a new deal and he will be looking to add to his solitary appearance for Arsene Wenger's side, which came in the Champions League tie with Olympiakos in December 2009.

The former reserve-team captain and FA Youth Cup winner featured in Sunday's Emirates Cup clash with New York Red Bulls and admitted last month that he felt ready to feature for Arsenal's first team.

"If I'm honest, I don't think I was anywhere near the level to play for Arsenal last season," he told the club's website,

"But I've come back, I feel really strong and I feel that I am ready now.

"I am a little bit different to the other centre-backs.

"I like the physical side of the game and I see myself as a leader. If Arsene decides that he wants me in the first team then that will be fantastic."

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