By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes the fee for Cesc Fabregas would have been higher if he had been sold on the "open market".

The former Arsenal captain left for Barcelona on Monday in a deal reportedly worth around £35million. Wenger says that the Club held out for as long as it could to get the best possible fee for the midfielder but admits that Fabregas' refusal to consider other destinations kept the price down.

"If he was on the market to any club we would have got more money but we did want to get a decent fee," said Wenger. "That’s what I’m paid for.

"You cannot say because you want to get the deal done as quickly as possible: ‘Just take him and give us what you want’. You have to fight for your rights.

"If Cesc is for sale and you can make an auction between Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City, you will certainly get more money, but he just wanted to go to Barcelona.

"We didn’t even try [to encourage other clubs to bid] because we did not want to sell the player. Our desire was to keep the player."

Fabregas was fulsome in his praise for Wenger when he faced the media in Barcelona on Monday. His former manager repaid the compliment when he spoke to reporters back in London.

"Cesc has given us eight years and it was a pleasure to work with him on a daily basis," said Wenger.

"It was a pleasure to watch him - every day - to play football. And I’m sure it was a pleasure for you as well to watch him play. So that’s part of life. Maybe he will come back one day to the Club, you never know."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Aug 2011