x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Wenger expects Fabregas to resist Barcelona

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is confident captain Cesc Fabregas will stay at the club 'for a few more years.'

LONDON // Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, says he is confident captain Cesc Fabregas will stay at the club "for a few more years."

Spanish champion Barcelona pursued its former youth player in the last off-season, but Arsenal rejected a series of bids which never exceeded £40 million (Dh230m).

Wenger told Arsenal's annual general meeting how he convinced Fabregas to stay at the club, which has not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

Wenger assured shareholders that "it is a natural case of a player who loves this club - and he loves Arsenal deeply, believe me. If he did not love it, he would have gone."

Wenger added that "Barcelona has an attraction, because he grew up there, but I believe he wants to win with this club."

Meanwhile Lionel Messi's double gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League despite the hosts' poor finishing in front of goal. Messi found space outside the area to launch a shot past the goalkeeper Johan Wiland into the top corner in the 19th minute. He added the second in injury time after a nervous second half for Barcelona. Wiland had saved from Messi, David Villa and Daniel Alves to keep the Danish champions in the match at the Camp Nou. But the Copenhagen striker Cesar Martin wasted several chances and Dame N'Doye rattled a shot off the crossbar. "The truth is that we didn't finish off the game and we had to fight to the very end," captain Carles Puyol said. "But we knew it wasn't going to be an easy game." Barcelona overtook Copenhagen to lead Group D by one point with seven points after three games. Rubin Kazan has two points and Panathinaikos one after the pair played to a scoreless draw on Wednesday.