Why re-signing Cesc Fabregas would be a step back for Arsenal
With newly instated Barcelona boss Luis Enrique set to oversee the sale of several first-team players this summer, his arrival could wreck the fairytale ending of Cesc Fabregas’ career at the Camp Nou.
When the Spanish midfielder joined the Catalan giants from Arsenal for an initial £30 million in August 2011, amidst a flurry of badge kissing, he was heralded as the returning prodigal son.
The suggestion that would leave the club just three years later was frankly unthinkable, given the elongated saga that Barcelona became entrenched in in order to prise their man away from north London.
However, with the Spanish side suffering the ignominy of finishing second in La Liga and not managing to qualify for the semi-final stage of the Champions League, they have become victims of their own success and changes are expected.
If the right offer is received for the 27-year-old midfielder, which is reported to be £45 million, he will be allowed to leave. Following the revelation, Fabregas has been continually linked Arsenal, his former club where he made his name under the guidance of Arsene Wenger.
But with Arsenal set to enter a new era, would the Frenchman be wise to spend almost half of his £100 million summer transfer budget on a player that was sold for £30 million, at a huge profit it is worth noting, which led to a restructure of the team?
During a barren nine year spell, which was ended in dramatic fashion at Wembley on Saturday courtesy of a delightful Aaron Ramsey finish, Arsenal have had to contend with the loss of their best players time and time again.
The sale of Fabregas was arguably the most painful for not only the fans, but also for the team. He was captain, talisman, poster boy and future of the side wrapped up in one. He left a void, along with Samir Nasri, who left in the same summer, that has been difficult to fill. Robin van Persie was next to go and if the trio had all stayed the absence of silverware might have been ended sooner.
Fabregas, although he clearly felt an affiliation with Arsenal could not be denied a return to the club where it al began for him as a youngster.
However, it should not be forgotten that he effectively turned his back on the project at Arsenal, unwilling to wait for success when he could board the Barca bandwagon.
He should not be begrudged for such a choice, but unfortunately the trail of trophies has stuttered since he arrived. Fabregas has shone this season, creating 58 chances and providing 13 assists in La Liga, second only to the mercurial Lionel Messi. He also scored eight goals, one less than superstar new arrival Neymar.
If Arsenal chose to resign him it would a romantic option, but one that should not be taken. Fabregas’ spell at the club should be resigned to the past, Arsenal must now look the future as they plan to enter a new era of success.
The current squad is brimming with midfield talent and it is difficult to see where the Spaniard would fit into the team. He has played a more advanced role as of late, almost as a false nine. As such he has been able to find killer passes and carve out opportunities for his team mates. However, there is no such role available at Arsenal, Wenger will always play a striker. Barcelona’s tiki-taka lack of a centre forward does not cut it in England’s top tier.
Obviously Fabregas is able to adapt to a variety of positions and, although it can be hard to envisage as he has slotted into Barcelona’s team to become a carbon copy of some of his team mates, he is more than capable defensively. However, it is not a question of whether the midfielder, who should be approaching his peak, has enough quality to return.
It is a matter of whether indulging in a player that fought so hard to leave the club should be welcomed back. Wenger has indulged in second spells on occasion, most recently with Mathieu Flamini, while there was also room for Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell.
But in Fabregas’ case the dynamic of the team has changed. Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are the key figures in an attacking sense in the midfield. He could offer the team something, but Arsenal have wiped the slate clean and the emphasis needs to be on the future and how best to capitalise on their recent success.
They have a huge opportunity in front of them this summer, with a significant transfer budget, having finally thrown off the financial constraints of the move to the Emirates, talks are ongoing as to who they should target, but Fabregas should not be part of the conversation.