Cesc Fabregas’ desire to represent his boyhood club Barcelona is no secret, but is this the right time for the Arsenal captain to make the move back home?
With influential captain Cesc Fabregas reportedly finally informing his manager Arsène Wenger this week that he would like to make his much expected return to his boyhood club Barcelona, the bright future which Wenger predicted for his Arsenal side could be dwindling.
Already regarded worldwide as one of the top footballers in the world at the still young age of 23, Francesc Soler Fabregas was born and raised in the Catalan capital, attending his first game at the age of nine months. He had been a part of their youth academy, alongside current Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, before moving to England with Arsenal shortly after his 16th birthday. These childhood links appear to be the driving force behind his desire for a move back home.
As well as this reason, Arsenal’s failure to capture any major silverware since the FA Cup back in 2005 is worrying Fabregas. The incentive so move will be greater as he watched Barcelona lift the Spanish League last weekend, their 6 trophy in two seasons. Arsenal have none in 5. As Cesc begins to move into the prime of his playing career, he will want something to show for his immense talent beside plaudits.
Skipper Fabregas has been an inspiration for Arsenal in recent seasons
The Spanish international may also feel that he has repaid Arsène Wenger and the Gunners fans for all their faith shown in him and getting him to where he is today by his commitment to the side since his debut against Rotherham back in 2003, as well as his consistently brilliant performances which have been a major factor in Arsenal’s ability to retain their status as a top 4 team in England despite the fact that they simply cannot compete with the other big sides financially, following their expensive stadium move to the Emirates in 2006, meaning the North London club is currently attempting to manage some £360 million worth of debt.
However, with the Barca system of 3 midfielders already occupied by a defensive player, either Ivorian Yaya Toure or Spaniard Sergio Busquets (Fabregas is not a defensive player) and world class, home-grown favourites Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, their doesn’t appear to be a space for Cesc in the Barca line up.
The lure of the Camp Nou will be hard for Fabregas to turn down
There have been musings that Iniesta could maybe be shunted out on the left of the three-man attack along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Messi that Barca employ, but with the purchase only this week of the prolific Spanish international striker David Villa, this would now seem very unlikely. Messi will surely not be dropped, as he is currently the FIFA player of the year and regarded to be one of the greats of the modern game, and Ibrahimovic also would seem be beyond dropping, as he is a £60 million signing last summer.
Manager Pep Guardiola could try on move the tall Swede on, as Ibrahimovic has been made to sit on the bench for the last few games of the season, but in selling him they would want to recoup most of the money spent, and few teams would want to match his £6 million a year wages, given his disappointing previous season.
As well as this, the timing of this interest from Barcelona comes at the same time as the elections for the new Barcelona president occur; so the promise to sign such a player as Fabregas could be the deciding factor in many voters choice. This could be seen as a move for political reasons, rather than footballing ones, which could put Fabregas off.
This may be unlikely however, as the emotional pull for Cesc to return to his boyhood club will be a great one, as well as the motive to become one of the greats by winning trophies in Spain. He will trust his ability to become a first team regular also.
Wenger will have much to ponder should his talisman move on
Should Fabregas’ desire to leave remain, Wenger will allow his talisman to leave, albeit with a heavy heart, as he has previously stated that holding a player at a club against his will is fruitless, as the player is not fully committed. Wenger’s resolve will also be tested to its limit with an offer of at least £30 million, plus Yaya Toure. This money could ease the huge debts about the club, as well as provide Wenger with some much need money for transfers. By selling one player in Fabregas, Arsenal could end up with a few class acts, if the money is spent wisely.
Many fear for Arsenal that their captain’s heart will rule, and he will make the somewhat inevitable trip back to his first football love. If this should happen, the Premier League would most definitely be the worse for it.
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