By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger wants Cesc Fabregas to put the summer’s speculation behind him and show he is a “champion”.

The Spanish midfielder has been linked with a return to Barcelona throughout the close season. In May, Arsenal put out a strongly-worded statement spelling out their desire to keep their captain. Wenger has backed up that sentiment in numerous press conferences since then.

With Fabregas close to a return after the rigours of a wonderful World Cup, the manager was looking for the 23-year-old to concentrate on Club matters once again.

“It's an inevitable question and inevitable answer,” said Wenger at Friday’s press conference for the Emirates Cup.

“I always said Cesc Fabregas will be our captain next year and that we want to keep him. Despite all the speculation last season and the whole summer, nothing has changed.

"There's a great attitude and spirit inside the squad and Cesc Fabregas can help us achieve these targets. He's now at a good age, 23-years-old, and he has just won the World Cup. I believe he will grow in authority again for next season. The biggest achievement for him now is to help us win the title.

"I have known players who want to leave and then after they don't want to leave any more. There are all kinds of situations but I believe what happens after is that when a player stays it is about how much he focused on playing football.

"It is always in the interests of the player to perform. If he is a champion, he goes on the football pitch and wants to be the best he can. All the rest is a poor excuse for a football player.”

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 30 Jul 2010