Arsene Wenger insists there is "no chance" of Cesc Fabregas being sold to Barcelona - and maintains his young Arsenal team can compete with the best this season.
The Gunners captain has once again been strongly linked with a big-money summer move away from Emirates Stadium - his boyhood club Barcelona the latest side said to be weighing up a formal bid.
But Wenger said: "Do you really think we sell now our players one day before the championship starts, players who are basic players of the team? There is no chance,"
He added: "You cannot stop people from having a lot of creative imagination during their sleepless nights, but that does not mean we will do it."
Wenger himself has resisted the lures of some of Europe's top clubs to remain faithful to Arsenal, whom he has transformed since arriving some 13 seasons ago.
"I believe that in life you are committed to clubs with contracts and in no contract is the colour of your blood described," he said, referring to the pull a return to Spain would have on Fabregas.
"I am more committed than ever to my club, not only this season, but since I have arrived here. We are the beginning of a new season now, and it is important that everybody focuses - me, Fabregas everybody else, just on being successful for the club we love, and the best way we can do that is to do well."
Despite the sale of Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Kolo Toure to Manchester City, Wenger maintains his squad is stronger than this time last year.
"We are young and have developed. Why should we not be better in August than we were in March?" said the Arsenal manager, who will be without Theo Walcott on Saturday, but hopes the England forward could be back for the Champions League qualifier against Celtic next week.
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