Gerardo Martino has confirmed that he has no intention of letting Cesc Fabregas leave Barcelona this summer.
The 26-year-old has become the centre of a tug of war with United after David Moyes submitted two official bids for the midfielder but Barcelona have so far stood firm that he is not for sale at any price.
Speaking at his first press conference as Barcelona manager, Martino responded to rumours that Fabregas would be leaving the club this summer.
He said: “Manchester United want Cesc Fabregas? If the club rejected two offers, I will reject it a third time. Cesc will be here.”
Barcelona’s vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu reiterated his stance when questioned by reporters.
“United’s interest for Cesc Fabregas is obvious, he’s a great player but it does not bother us,” he said.
“It does not matter what they offer us, we are not selling him.”
While it would look like Martino’s comments close the book on Fabregas leaving Barcelona this summer, he was never going to walk into his first press conference as Barcelona manager and state his intention to sell one of the club’s prized possessions.
The fans have made their opinion clear on whether they want Fabregas to be sold and Martino would certainly be facing a Catalan backlash if he let him join United.
But as a new manager, Martino will want to stamp his own identity on the Barcelona side and should he see Fabregas as surplus to his requirements, the club may be forced to sell to raise cash to allow him to make purchases because of how much they spent on Neymar.