Let’s just start with a few of the things we actually know:
- Cesc Fabregas is Spanish and grew up in a town not far from Barcelona
- He supported Barcelona as a child and was part of their youth academy
- He is contracted to Arsenal for 5 more years
- He will return to Spain one day and play for Barcelona
- Barcelona want him to play for them as soon as possible
That’s it really. Everything else is, at this time, hearsay and speculation. The plethora of click whores submitting spurious articles to News Now in hope of additional ad revenue purely add fuel the current wildfire sweeping the internet right now.
What reporters, bloggers and just about anyone else with a keyboard ‘understand’ is that Cesc had a meeting on Tuesday with Arsene and told him he wants out. And that he wants to go play football with his more decorated friends at the Camp Nou. Pals like Xavi and Iniesta and earth’s best player, Leo Messi.
FAB4 is 23 and has played the best part of 280 games for Arsenal, starting way back in 2003 in the Carling Cup against Rotherham, a game I took Clare to. As understudy to Patrick Vieira he quickly developed into one of our best players and brings to the team something none of our other young players do. Only he, Robin Van Persie and certainly Sol seem to show the passion for going the extra mile, digging in when you back’s against the wall and every other footballing cliche.
So, he’s important to us. And losing him would be bad thing. Right? Well, not necessarily. For all the frustration he causes me, Arsene Wenger has a great record of knowing when to move a player on. Think Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Freddie LLLLJUNGberg etc. Those guys gave us everything but ultimately didn’t amount to much after they left. O.K they were headed towards the end of their careers so think then, Nicolas Anelka, the sulky twat. He had a couple of good seasons and we made about 4 billion quid flogging him which started something of a European tour which saw him play for most clubs in most leagues. It’s only now he’s gone to the chavs that he’s seen any real success. With the exception of Ashley Cole, an utterly classless moron, no player I can think of actually furthered their careers having left us. They were either past it or, with supposedly their best years ahead, dazzled by the bright lights (and granted, more money) of other clubs. And yes, Flamini and Hleb, I’m very much talking about you.
So, in short we got rid of ageing players who’d done us a great service and still made money on the original purchase price or got rid of disruptive players for loads of money.
That’s the plus side. On the minus side, whilst those stars leaving hasn’t resulted in the cataclysmic decline of the club the English media predicted (and seemed to want), we’re definitely worse off footballistically as Arsene would probably put it. Yes, we’re richer and in the rudest financial health of any club in the EPL but we don’t win stuff any more. And that’s what it’s about isn’t it?
I genuinely think AW has lost his way, his hand having been forced by the building of the new stadium. I think he’s done an unbelievable job financially and genuinely believe that we’d be head and shoulders above everyone else in the league if they’d only spent what we’ve spent but he can’t blame that for ever. It’s not like he was a big spender when we were at Highbury and nor did he need to be. He could buy youth then because we already had age and experience. You’ve only got to look at the effect Sol’s return has had to realise that your young players don’t need a winged heeled goal machine to look up to, much better they learn from someone who’s been there and got the t shirt. Remember these guys are in their early twenties and no matter how talented or rich they are, they’re still very impressionable. What, for example is Jack Wilshire going to learn from Abou Diaby, Eboue or Denilson? What he can learn from Sol is how to win a premier league medal without losing a game, how to win a double. Infact, how to win anything!
The point of all this is that whilst I would much prefer Cesc to stay, I think by going he’ll be sending the clearest message to Arsene yet. Arsene can ignore the fans all he likes, after all we’re not successful football managers, but when his players and crucially his best player and captain votes with his feet, he’s going to have to have to a hard think about where he went wrong. For a long while I’ve thought Arsene had got the balance of managing the money side of things and spending wisely almost right. I never thought we needed to spend £25m on a player, we just need a few more £10-15m players who have been around a while, won the odd cup. I was prepared to give him one more season of his experiment. Afterall, he promised us a trophy this year. Now though, things have got to change. And I think Fabregas leaving will be the start of that change.
If he wants to leave, he should go. You can’t have you captain playing for one club whilst his head and heart is at another. And if by going we get fifty million quid for a player who cost £500,000 267 games ago then great. But, AW you’ve got to spend it all. We desperately need a new proven top, top, top class goalie, so spend the money (probaly £20m)on Buffon. We need another defender in the mould of Thomas Vermaelen (and not in the mould of Sylvester) which ought to be around another £10m. We’ll then need to replace Cesc if that’s possible. But for the remaining £20m we can have David Silva, Mikel Arteta or Felipe Melo. The point being that if you strengthen the other, more in need of strengthening, parts of the team, you don’t need a like for like replacement. For all his amazingness Thierry Henry divided opinion; people said there was an over reliance on him, that when he didn’t score, we weren’t the same. So, let’s be a team which is made of up great footballers who play better together than a team of two or three star attractions and a load of trainees in waiting.
Arsene has built three teams in his 14 years, the first two were wildly sucessful and the last one wasn’t / isn’t. It’s such a shame that whilst Fabregas has developed into a great player, he’s done it in a team which has never fulfilled its potential.
As we know Cesc is leaving. If not this season then perhaps next, but it will happen and all I can say and hope for is that it is the start of a new era, a new experiment as it has to be more successful than the last one.