Arsene Wenger has called on Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to end speculation over his future once and for all.
The Spain midfielder, 23, was not part of the squad for Saturday's Emirates Cup opener against AC Milan, which finished 1-1, as, along with Holland striker Robin van Persie, Fabregas was given extra time off following the World Cup final.
"In the last six months, this story has made our lives difficult," Wenger said. "At the moment, what is important is that when Cesc comes back, that he comes out."
He added: "For me, I have nothing more to add. The conversations with the players have to be private because I cannot come out every time I speak with a player."
Before he departed for South Africa, Fabregas is understood to have told Wenger of his desire to leave and rejoin boyhood club Barcelona.
Fabregas is not scheduled to return to England until after this weekend's Emirates Cup for Arsenal's official photocall on August 5 for the club's Members' Day.
In recent weeks Barcelona have, publicly at least, appeared to admit defeat in their quest to land Fabregas before the transfer window closes at the end of August, although defender Carles Puyol, an international team-mate, maintains Arsenal are trying to keep hold of the player against his will.
"They [Barcelona] certainly have a case to answer [on allegations of tapping up], but it is always the same - how can you prove it?" he said. "Puyol is responsible for his own statements, which is why I have said before, only Fabregas can clear the air when he comes back from holiday.
"I cannot master what is written in the newspapers, I can only master our decisions. Cesc has five years to go [on his contract] and that's it. The speculation does not stop - who can stop the speculation? Only Cesc, that is how I feel.
"We cannot go into a season where every day you read about that. He has not played today, we have just played a football game and I sit here speaking about Fabregas."
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