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Laporta insists Barca won't make Fabregas bid

Arsenal's chances of retaining captain Cesc Fabregas this summer have improved following the news that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is not planning to make an attempt to sign the midfielder.

With Arsenal again struggling to mount a title challenge it had been suggested that the coming summer would present a real dilemma for Fabregas, with the Catalan media speculating that he had already reached a verbal agreement to join Barca

That is something that has been strenuously denied by Fabregas, and now Laporta has underlined that the Spain international is far from a top priority for Barca, telling the Times: "He is not a temptation.

"Arsenal came fishing for our young players. One of them was Cesc. Now he is playing very well at Arsenal. I can't say any more about this."

Fabregas has been periodically linked with a return to Camp Nou ever since his decision to join Arsenal from the club's youth ranks at the age of 16 in 2003. The player himself has never hidden his desire to play for the club he supported as a child and idolises Barca manager and former captain Pep Guardiola.

With 11 goals and 11 assists in 22 Premier League appearances this season, Fabregas is one of England's elite players but his former team-mate in Barcelona's Cantera, Gerard Pique, expects him to return to La Liga.

"I still do not know if he will come here next season, but one day he will wear the Barca shirt again because he is a fan and I know that he wants to come back in the future," Pique explained. "He is a player that should play here and he wants to come, but we will have to wait and see when that is."

Laporta will step down as Barca president in June, meaning it remains likely that speculation will continue to accompany Fabregas as the club's election battle progresses. Although he will relinquish control of the club, Laporta is also adamant that, contrary to reports, Thierry Henry will not be used as a makeweight in any attempt to sign Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery.

"He [Henry] has done very well from the beginning," Laporta said. "He is a gentleman. We appreciate him for his skills as well as a human being. His future is here."

Laporta also declined to comment on reports that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is a possible target for Barcelona.


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