Arsenal Football Club has released a statement today rebuffing any reports of "official" negotiations with Barcelona for the transfer of club captain Cesc Fabregas.
In a strongly worded statement on the club's website, it has been made clear that only two "informal exchanges" have been made and both have been rejected outright by the North London club.
The statement read:
"Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the Club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly valued member of the team and part of our future plans.
"We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment. However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain.
"To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word."
It's clear that Arsenal's resolve has not been tested by Barcelona's opening offer and that Arsene Wenger is either very clear that he does not want to sell his captain, or that Aresenal's valuation of the player is considerably more.
Arsenal have never been known to take a public stance on transfers through club statements. Barcelona's tactics (ie. going public whenever they can on this topic) however, appear to have forced their hands in this regard.
Arsene Wenger has been a strong believer in letting go of players when they feel that it's the right time to move on. This time though, he appears to have adopted a completely different approach, and rightly so.
Cesc Fabregas has been an inspirational figure for Arsenal. His performances last season were outstanding, and Wenger perhaps feels that he can bring out even more from the captain next season.
He might have decided to take a gamble with Cesc's future, having told the player to "leave the future in his hands."
With a considerable number of news outlets revealing that "transfer negotiations had begun"—it's pretty clear with this statement that they've hit a brick wall quite early.
While there is still a considerable amount of time left for Barcelona to complete the transfer of Fabregas, it does seem as if Arsenal's stance on this particular transfer is non-negotiable.
Only time will tell whether the above statement was one of real intent, or only a strategy adopted by Arsenal to drive up their captain's price in what could be very complex negotiations for his transfer.