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Barcelona chief: Fabregas is a ''special case''

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has identified his club's pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas as a ''special case'' and claims that it is ''no secret'' that the Spanish champions want to sign him.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been unimpressed by the Catalan side's attempts to sign his captain this summer, with reports of a £30m bid surrounding the Spaniard for months.

And Laporta said: ''I apologise if I bothered Mr Wenger, because I respect him very highly and the job he is doing. But he knows perfectly that the case of Cesc Fabregas is special.

''He is a Catalan player from our youth team and it is not a secret that we love this player.''

Fabregas, who missed Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Manchester United because of a hamstring injury, was picked up from the Nou Camp academy for around £500,000 by Wenger in September 2003.

He has made it clear in the past that he would relish a return to his former club, but has also remained faithful to Arsenal and, most importantly, Wenger.

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