x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arsenal firm but Messi is hopeful on Fabregas

Club says they will not sell him to Barcelona at any price, but the Spanish champions' Argentine superstar is confident his friend will complete his return to Nou Camp.

Arsenal say they will not sell Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona at any price, but Lionel Messi, the Spanish champions' Argentine superstar, is confident his friend will complete his return to the Nou Camp. Arsenal rejected a £30 million (Dh171m) bid from the Catalan giants at the beginning of the summer and have remained firm in their stance that Fabregas is not for sale. Fabregas has made no secret of the fact he would love a return to Barca, where he started his career as a youth team player before moving to the Gunners in 2003, and admitted on Friday that he is torn between the two clubs. Barca players, many of who progressed through the La Masia academy with Fabregas, have pleaded with him to come back, and Messi has reiterated that sentiment.

"It is no secret that Cesc is my friend. The whole world knows that and I would love him to sign for Barca," the Argentine told Spanish television station Cuatro. "I hope that the matter can be resolved soon and I'm confident that in the end it will be resolved in the way that Cesc can be a Barcelona player." Fabregas still has five years remaining on his Arsenal contract, and at the weekend Arsene Wenger, the manager, called on the Spain midfielder to make up his mind about where his future lies.

"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." Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil expects to see out the final year of his contract with Werder Bremen and not follow Sami Khedira, his Germany teammate, to Real Madrid this summer. The 21-year-old has been linked with a move to the Spanish side after turning down a new contract with the Bundesliga club, which means he will be available on a free transfer next summer.

However, Ozil told Bild am Sonntag: "I am really, really happy for Sami and I am keeping my fingers crossed for him. "It is very good for German football. In recent years, there has only really been Michael Ballack who represented German football at a top club. "For now, my situation for the next 12 months is clear. Only the facts count and the fact is I am under contract with Werder." * Agencies