London - Cesc Fabregas confirmed on Friday he will stay at Arsenal this season after conceding he won't get his wish to rejoin Barcelona.
Fabregas met Arsene Wenger before the World Cup to ask the Gunners boss to let him move to the Spanish champions, sparking a summer-long saga of claim and counter-claim between the two clubs.
But the 23-year-old Spain midfielder, who quit the Nou Camp to join Arsenal as a teenager, was unable to persuade Wenger to accept Barca's offers of around 30 million pounds and has now announced he will remain at the Premier League club.
"Firstly I would like to apologise to all the Arsenal fans for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known what I was going to do until this moment," Fabregas said in a statement.
"I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me.
"This was the club where I learned my football, it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing.
"There are not many players in the world who would not want to play for Barcelona.
"I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in person and over the phone over the last few months and although the content of those conversations will remain private, the conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected by Arsenal.
"I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal's prerogative not to sell me."
A host of Barca players had gone public with their belief that Fabregas was desperate to move to the club he supported as a boy, but Wenger's determination not to be bullied into selling his captain has paid off.
While Fabregas has ended speculation over his future in the short term, it would be no surprise if Barca return with another bid at the end of the season.
"I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal," added Fabregas.
"I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused on playing for Arsenal.
"I am an Arsenal player and as soon as I step out on to the pitch, that is the only club I will be thinking about."
Wenger said he was delighted to keep his World Cup star at the Emirates.
"He is our captain, he is our leader," Wenger told the club's website.
"When I was at the World Cup I met so many people in South Africa and the first thing I heard was 'Don't let Fabregas go'.
"That means it is a huge lift for everybody who loves the club."
Wenger declined to reveal any discussions he had with Fabregas, adding: "The situation is as it is.
"I believe it is important in my job that I do not come out with private conversations I have with the players. That would be unfair.
"But Cesc has come out today to clear the air. It was very important for us that Cesc did that clearly and that we can move on from now."
Meanwhile, Barcelona lamented the latest twist in the saga.
"Barcelona regret the decision of Arsenal to declare the player not for sale and their decision not to take into consideration the offers proposed. None of those offers, in any way, exceeded 40 million euros," the Catalan club said in a statement.
Fabregas, who is under contract at Arsenal until 2014, returned to training on Thursday after a lengthy break following Spain's victorious World Cup campaign.