Peter Hill-Wood, the Arsenal chairman, has revealed Barcelona have assured the Gunners they will not make a bid for Cesc Fabregas this summer. Speculation has long linked the Arsenal captain with a return to the club where he spent several years as a youth player before moving to London. Lionel Messi, Barcelona's Argentine forward, was yesterday reported as saying he thought it was just a matter of time before Fabregas returned to the Nou Camp as he "has Barcelona in his blood", but Hill-Wood is convinced a deal is not in the pipeline as the Spanish side are happy with their squad.
Speaking to ESPN Soccernet, Hill-Wood revealed that high-level talks between the clubs during their recent Champions League tie ruled out the possibility of Fabregas joining up with Pep Guardiola's side any time soon. "There was a private conversation that took place in the boardroom and assurances have been made at the highest possible level,'' Hill-Wood said. "Arsenal do not expect those to be broken.
"I was not privy to the conversation, but was told about it. They said to us they are not interested [this summer]. It was a recent conversation, as recent as the time that they played us in the Champions League - in fact as we got a bit upset because of all the media speculation. "Subsequent to the conversation, if they are interested at any time in the future, they would come to us direct. However I'm not sure they are going to do that, because they told us they are pretty happy with their current players.''
This summer's club presidential elections mean the Barca hierarchy is set to change completely before the transfer window closes and could render such assurances meaningless. But Hill-Wood added: "I'm not sure he would even get in their team, Do they need him? I'm not sure that they do." * PA Sport