By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that Cesc Fabregas is "torn between two loves" but he wants his captain's future sorted out as soon as possible so he can focus on the new season.
The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move back to Barcelona this summer but, despite constant speculation, Fabregas remains an Arsenal player.
The 24-year-old will not play at this weekend's Emirates Cup, largely because he is returning from a muscular problem, but Wenger admits that this summer's saga is a factor too.
"He will not be involved because at the moment he is not settled," said the manager. "He is coming back from an injury and is not settled with us.
"You know all the speculation which is around his position, that has to be sorted out soon. He is the captain of our club and we have to make sure he is really focused on being with us.
"There is only one deadline, it is on August 31. The other deadline is for us to get everybody focused, the players who are really committed to the Club, my energy and my focus goes on them.
"That is what I focus on, I cannot help the other situation, because it does not only depend on me, it depends on the players and on the other clubs."
According to reports Barcelona have already had one bid for Fabregas rejected by Arsenal. So is Wenger holding out for the Catalan giants to make an acceptable offer for his skipper?
“Frankly I don’t know," replied the Frenchman. "Because as I told you I don't master completely the situation – it depends on Cesc. I think he’s in a moment when he thinks about it and it is a big concern.
"I always say he is torn between two loves – the club where he has been educated as a very young boy and the club where he has been educated from 16 onwards and he has been given a chance. I personally can understand it – but of course we want to be certain about his complete commitment.”
Wenger was asked whether he could let a potentially unhappy player just leave, but the manager believes that would set a dangerous trend.
“Frankly again I don't know because that would mean that anybody who just wants to leave we will have to let him go - and for any price," said Wenger.
"It has to be as well that the three parties agree and that everybody is happy at the end. If there is only two that are happy and one is very unhappy it doesn't work.
"We have a responsibility towards our club and I have that responsibility to sell the players at a decent price. Or I take money away from my club. And that is not [possible] just to please one player."Copyright 2017 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