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Oct 18, 2012

Barca hit out at City and Arsenal

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has accused Manchester City and Arsenal of attempting to destabilise his club by offering significant sums to youth players but said he was relaxed over the Premier League champions' reported interest in Sergio Busquets.

• Cesc: I'd have stayed at Arsenal

City, backed by the oil money of Sheikh Mansour, claimed the Premier League last season and are now targeting success in the Champions League.

To bolster that ambition, Roberto Mancini is believed to be keen to add to his City squad and recent reports have suggested they could bid for Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets, while Cesc Fabregas has also been linked.

Rosell has hit out at City, whose director general is former Barca vice-president Ferran Soriano, and likened their approach to that of Arsenal, who have taken Cesc Fabregas, Fran Merida, Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin from La Masia to London.

Speaking at the Fórum Fundació FC Barcelona, Rosell was quoted as saying in El Mundo Deportivo: "Manchester City want to take our players and they want to destabilise us. It also happens with Arsenal, who come for our youth team players and offer them a lot of money. Now it is happening with City. We are the enemy to beat. There are a lot of people who do not want Barca to do well and want us not to win."

Rosell remains optimistic that Spain international Busquets will not be tempted by a switch to Eastlands.

"We should be calm," he said. "Busquets is another example like Messi, Valdes, Xavi, Puyol and the rest. We have marvellous players and when they called them they say they are true Barca players."

Rosell also dismissed any suggestion that Lionel Messi could be tempted away from the Camp Nou and said the club had never received an offer for the player.

"If any club has asked Messi [about a transfer], he has put the barrier up. No offer to buy Messi has ever come in to us. He has put the brakes on them all personally. There has never been an offer from a sheikh to sign Messi as what the player wants is to stay at Barca."

Manchester City issued a statement to deny holding any interest in Busquets or Fabregas. The club said: "There's no basis to these claims and the club has neither made nor is it planning to make an offer for these players."

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