Manchester United have ended their pursuit of Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has said.
• Tomas: Fabregas must stay
United have made no secret of their interest in Fabregas this summer, and are understood to have lodged a third bid in the region of £40 million for the 26-year-old last week.
However, Barca have said on numerous occasions over the summer that Fabregas — who returned to the Camp Nou from Arsenal in 2011 — is not available for transfer, although the club’s new coach, Gerardo Martino, said on Friday that the player would decide his own future.
It now appears the Premier League champions will switch their attentions to a new target.
“Manchester United are interested in the player, but it's also true that they understand our position of not wanting to sell,” Zubizarreta was quoted as saying in Sport. “They have renounced his signing. We aren't going to sell him.”
Zubizarreta, speaking during his side’s ‘Peace Tour’ of Israel, added on the official Barca website: “He has a contract with us. We count on Cesc.
“I said that on the day of the presentation of Tito (Vilanova) and also with Tata (new coach Martino): He's an extraordinary player who creates and finishes chances. We are delighted with him. He's the No. 4 of Barca."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, said on Sunday that Fabregas intends to stay put for another season.
“What I know is Fabregas will stay one more year at least in Barcelona,” he said. “That's the information I have. If that changes, I don't know, but that is what I have been told.”
Javier Faus, Barca’s economic vice-president, had also said this weekend that Fabregas would remain with his hometown club.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.