(CNN) -- Arsenal have rejected out of hand a formal offer from Barcelona for their talismanic captain Cesc Fabregas, the English Premier League club confirmed on Wednesday.
The Spanish champions officially launched their bid to re-sign the 23-year-old earlier in the day when director general Joan Oliver told reporters an offer had been made.
Fabregas came through the youth ranks at the Nou Camp before joining Arsenal in 2003, and declared last month he would like to return to Spain.
The midfielder then backtracked by saying that he would put his future in the hands of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and instead focus on playing for Spain at the World Cup in South Africa.
But Arsenal met Barcelona's offer with a curt response. A statement on their official Web site read: "Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly valued member of the team and part of our future plans.
"We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment.
"However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain.
"To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word."
Oliver had earlier told reporters during a presentation of the club's latest sponsorship deal: "Everybody knows that Cesc wants to sign for Barca and that we also want him to come here, but there is also a third party involved -- Arsenal.
"Any agreement has to be with them. The official window for transfer negotiations opened on June 1, and although we'd had unofficial conversations with them before yesterday, we've now made a formal written offer, which we presented to Arsenal yesterday afternoon."
Barcelona vice-president Rafael Yuste said that director of football Txiki Beguiristain and director Raul Sanllehi were leading the negotiations.
"I'm optimistic that he'll be able to sign for Barca as soon as possible, and it's clear that everybody here will give him a warm welcome," Yuste said in quotes on the Barcelona Web site.
"We'll do nothing that might make it more difficult for him to come here, and we won't rush things -- but we won't stop either!"
Meanwhile, Yuste also played down reports that last summer's marquee signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be leaving Barcelona after a disappointing first season in Spain.
The recent signing of Spain striker David Villa from Valencia for $49 million has put the Sweden international's Nou Camp future under some scrutiny.
"There is no problem with Ibra. He's happy and I hope he'll be here scoring goals as he did last season for many years to come. There's nothing to say other than that we are very satisfied with him," Yuste said.