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The midfielder hails the impact that Gerardo Martino has had on his growing influence at Camp Nou and insists that he did not consider a return to the Premier League in the summer

Cesc Fabregas believes that his decision to stay at Barcelona following Manchester United's interest has been vindicated by his performances for the Spanish champions this season.

The 26-year-old was targeted by David Moyes in the summer but was subsequently assured by the Blaugrana hierarchy that he was a valued member of the squad and would not be allowed a return to the Premier League.

And Fabregas has hailed the impact of Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino, claiming that the 50-year-old has been one of the main factors behind his form this term.

"The season's started brilliantly," the former Arsenal star told The Guardian. "[Martino] lets me play the way that suits my qualities and I'm very comfortable, very happy. I feel better all the time, more and more central. The coach is giving me more opportunities, more status, more leadership.

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"On the first day - well, not the first day, but maybe the third or fourth, early on - he called me over and told me: 'I want you to be the player you were at Arsenal' and I thought 'wow!' because I'd always felt so good at Arsenal, so important.

"I never planned to go back this summer," he declared. "It's not something I was even thinking about.

"I was always clear in my mind that I want to succeed at Barcelona and I'd give everything to triumph here. I said openly: I haven't even thought about leaving, I'm not going.

"When I heard [about United's bid], I contacted Darren [Dein, my agent] and he confirmed that it had come out officially. He said: 'Yes, it's true. What do you want to do?' I didn't know anything about it [until then].

"If a club comes in for you and you tell your representative that you want to go, then you go. I spoke to [Josep Maria] Bartomeu, the vice-president, and he told me: 'You're not going anywhere; we have complete confidence in you', then I spoke to the president.

"I was very relaxed about the whole thing because that's what they transmitted to me. It's true that they had offers, and they told me that, but the only thing in my head was staying at Barcelona. At no time did I say that I wanted to go and I stayed out of it. I was surprised. I didn't encourage them at all."

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