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Pep happy to turn to youth

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola is ready to turn to his youth players if Cesc Fabregas does not join the club.

Barca have pursued Fabregas throughout the summer but, given Arsenal's refusal to negotiate, any hope of a deal before the close of the transfer window appears to have severely dwindled. Guardiola has now said there are "real possibilities" that he will rely on the players who emerge from the youth system.

"The transfer window closes at the end of the month," he told a press conference. "We'll see what options there are to strengthen our midfield.

"I'm not ruling out that Cesc will, or will not, join us. The market has stalled. If there's anything to be done, we'll do it, but if not we'll use the players from the lower squads because they give us sufficient guarantees.

"Some of them I already know well and I've got good references on the others. Whether or not they play doesn't depend on me - it depends on them. I can give them a chance but if they don't respond at the right level then they don't continue. I'm very, very happy with the standard. I've got a very good feeling about them."

Meanwhile, Barca captain Carles Puyol has denied claiming Arsenal were making a mistake by holding Fabregas against his will.

"Recently a British news outlet has published some statements I have supposedly made but they are totally false," he told his official website. "I just saw them and I can guarantee that I have not said anything nor talked to anybody about this subject."

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