Puyol - Let Fabregas leave

Barca skipper hits out at Arsenal for keeping midfielder

Puyol (L): Has hit out at Arsenal

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Barcelona captain Carles Puyol insists Arsenal are holding Cesc Fabregas at the club against his will.

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"I wonder how intelligent it is keeping a player who doesn't want to be there."

Carles Puyol

Quotes of the week

Gunners skipper Fabregas has been the subject of intense interest from Barca this summer, with the Camp Nou club having already made a rejected €35million (£30m) offer for his services.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made it clear he intends to keep the talismanic midfielder, who has five years left on his contract, at the Emirates this season.

But defender Puyol has contributed to the long-running transfer saga by claiming his fellow Spanish World Cup winner should be allowed to return to his Catalan roots.

Return

"He is having to stay at a club where he no longer wants to be for another year," Puyol said in The Sun.

"I wonder how intelligent it is keeping a player who doesn't want to be there.

"After seven years of great service, I thought Arsenal could have granted him his dream move."

Fabregas has already admitted his interest in returning to his boyhood club, and Puyol insists he has earned a move home following his hard work with the Gunners.

"Cesc has given everything to Arsenal to try to win a trophy but they haven't matched his expectations," added Puyol.

"I won't say he is in a prison, as we know how privileged we are as football players.

"But after how clear Cesc made it that he wanted to be in Barcelona, I thought they would have granted him that."

Manager Wenger, who is due to meet with Fabregas next week before he starts his pre-season, has dismissed rumours linking the midfielder with Barca as 'noises'.

And Puyol, who forced Fabregas to wear a Barcelona shirt during Spain's World Cup celebrations, accepts the Catalan club will have to wait another 12 months to welcome the midfield ace home.

Waiting

"We all thought a deal would be done this summer," he said.

"But Arsenal have refused to talk and we are going to have to wait another year to get Cesc home.

"He is far too classy a guy to say it but the truth is he doesn't want to be at Arsenal this season. His heart is already in Barcelona, even though we must wait another year for his body to be here.

"We know he is arriving next season. Barcelona have a whole year to sort the deal out.

"He is professional enough still to have a great season and also because he has a lot of respect for the Arsenal fans.

"But anybody who tries to convince themselves he wanted to stay at Arsenal is wrong."