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Wenger aiming to end Cesc speculation

Arsene Wenger is hoping to end the ongoing transfer speculation surrounding captain Cesc Fabregas by pursuading the Barcelona target to stay at Arsenal.

• Cruyff wants end to Fabregas Saga

For the second summer in succession Fabregas has been linked with a return to Barca, whom he left to join Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003, and the Catalan club have already had a reported £30 million bid rejected.

But with Barcelona insisting that Fabregas is "now worth less than €40 million (£34.8m)" the clubs have been unable to come to an agreement over a fee and Wenger is determined to resolve the situation one way or the other.

"We have to stop at some stage ... I hope we can close that very quickly in our favour," Wenger told The Guardian. "For us, it's important that the team settles psychologically as quickly as possible because we have a tough start.''

Arsenal take on Cologne in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, and asked if Fabregas would feature, the Frenchman added: "We will have to see how far he is with his (hamstring) injury ... normally, yes,'' he said.

"He is not back in full training, he is back running on the pitch and the next step is to be back in full training.

"I will have to assess him on Monday. He is in our plans. The problem we face is speculation from everywhere but my target is the same - to keep players and my desire to fight for that is the same.''

Wenger also admitted he found Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini's decision to talk publicly about his club's interest in Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri "surprising''.

Nasri has one year left on his contract with the Gunners and Mancini said on Saturday that he hoped Nasri would sign for City before the end of the month.

Talking about the rules governing the conduct of clubs in transfer deals, Wenger added: "They have certainly to be cleaned up. For us, at this period of the season, it is important that we give importance to what matters to us.

"Frankly, it doesn't take sleep away from me. I just think it is surprising that we have to face these kind of comments. You have never heard me say any word about a player.''

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Arsenal's Brazilian midfielder Denilson could join Sao Paulo on a season-long loan.

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