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Page last updated at 22:36 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 23:36 UK

Arsenal stars will stay - Gazidis

Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas has returned to training after four months out with a knee injury

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is "very confident" that the Gunners can hold on to young stars Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott.

Fabregas is reportedly a target for Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Van Persie and Walcott are both in talks over new contracts with the club.

"I can't marry the stories that I read with reality," said Gazidis.

"We are very confident that this team will stay together, progress together and achieve success together."

Fabregas - who has spent much of this season on the sidelines with a serious knee injury - has been linked with both Barcelona and Real Madrid on numerous occasions but Gazidis says he is happy at the Emirates Stadium.

"Cesc is extremely happy at Arsenal and totally committed to the club, and that's every message that Arsene Wenger or I have ever received from him or his representatives," said Gazidis.

Arsenal is not a gambling club, it is a very conservatively-run club

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis

Van Persie and Walcott's contracts both expire at the end of next season, and although Fabregas's deal runs until 2014, under international transfer rules he can buy himself out of the deal in October having gone past the three year mark.

However, Gazidis is adamant that Arsenal can offer good enough incentives to keep their star players.

"Arsenal offers good money," he said. "It offers a great development programme and a superb environment so it is difficult for me to imagine why players would want to leave."

Despite insisting Arsenal were not short of cash, Gazidis did admit that the club has a financial model it intends to stick to ensure the club is financially viable.

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"Arsenal is not a gambling club, it is a very conservatively run club," he said.

"The revenue levels to service the contracts are levels we are comfortable with and those players' contracts are at levels that are sustainable to us."

On Monday, American tycoon Stan Kroenke raised his stake in the club to just over 20%, making him the second largest shareholder.

Gazidis knows Kroenke from his time as deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer in the Unite States and gave a glowing endorsement of the billionaire who, Gazidis says, shares the philosophy of the rest of the Arsenal board.

"He has been a good part owner of Arsenal and an active participant on the board," said Gazidis.

"He is a long-term investor who thinks about the sports business very carefully and philosophically is very close to the traditional Arsenal ethos.

"He believes in the club running itself on a self-sustaining basis."



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