Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has commanded many column inches already this summer, having been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona.

Speculation has continued to mount after a number of the La Liga champions' players intimating that the Spaniard is determined to engineer a move to the Nou Camp.

However, one comment in particular seemed to striker a chord with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who is eager to keep Fabregas at the Emirates Stadium next season.

Barca's midfield maestro Xavi was recently quoted on the club's official site, claiming that the 24-year-old is 'suffering' at Arsenal, causing Wenger to hit back at the player who was being disrespectful.

Xavi has since moved to retract his statement, claiming to have been misquoted as Fabregas' Arsenal-Barcelona transfer saga continues to rumble on.


"It seems absurd to me," said Xavi in response to Wenger's comments. "I was only acting in the interest of Cesc and of Barca.

"But that's that and I really don't want to get into a war of words with Wenger. I didn't want to offend anyone."

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola intimated yesterday that the Gunners would in fact be willing to negotiate the sale of Fabregas, but Xavi would not be drawn on the latest developments.

"I don't really know the situation but it seems they are more disposed to sell this year than last," he concluded.

"Maybe we can be a bit more optimistic but it depends on reaching an agreement with Arsenal."

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