By Nick Teale        

Arsène Wenger understands why Cesc Fabregas wants to play for Catalonia in their match against Argentina but says Arsenal will need their captain.

At the weekend the manager revealed that he had turned down a request from Johan Cryuff to allow the midfielder to play in the friendly match on December 22.

The Frenchman understands the position of all those involved but says Arsenal must come first.

"Basically everybody is understandable," said Wenger.

"I understand that Catalonia want Cesc. I understand that Cesc wants [to play for] Catalonia and I understand deeply that Arsenal cannot release Cesc.

"If tomorrow you have a Londoner who can play against Argentina, he will want to play. I understand that completely."

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 Dec 2009