According to the The Mirror and The Metro Barcelona could be persuaded to sell their formerly prized asset, former Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas who left North London for Catalonia back in summer 2011 after 8 years with Arsenal.
Back then the La Liga giants were relentless and predatory in pursuing the man they felt entitled to resign due his ‘Barca DNA’ – the Spaniard had been educated and developed at their renowned La Masia academy as a youngster from the age of 10 until he left at 16 in his pursuit of first-team football.
He found that under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and soon earned his opportunity in the Gunners’ first-team where he became their most important player and, eventually, captain at just 21 years of age.
For two summers prior to his eventual move back to Barcelona, the Catalans, along with Spanish news outfit Marca hounded him and the club with their ‘interest’ in signing their primary transfer target and, following an impressive display with Spain in the World Cup of 2010, it seemed it had become a case of when he would leave, not if.
However, since moving, Fabregas, now 25 has struggled to cement his status at the Camp Nou, where his preferred role is occupied by Xavi, along with Andres Iniesta and even the likes of Lionel Messi. It is well documented that his role has changed his departure from Arsenal, where he was deployed as a free attacking midfielder, the creative nucleus of the Gunners’ team.
At Barca, he has been rotated in and out of the team by former boss and mentor Pep Guardiola and now Tito Vilanonva – he has functioned as an understudy to both Xavi and Iniesta as well as a ‘false number 9’ at times.
Despite his talent and adaptability to these roles, Fabregas still has yet to fully fortify his place – he is not the key player he was at Arsenal. This term, he’s made 46 appearances for Barcelona, of which only 18 of them were for a full 90 minutes. He’s been substituted on or off in 28 fixtures and has played just 11 full league games.
Despite his lack of consistent opportunity, he has netted 13 goals and made 14 assists and remains a permanent fixture of the Spanish national squad.
However, as we head towards the next World Cup in Brazil 2014, the former Arsenal captain may need to evaluate his options of regular first-team football.
According to The Daily Star, a Barcelona source stated: “If an important offer for Cesc arrives we will study the situation,” leaving the door wide open for bids from potential suitors this summer.
Fabregas admitted upon his departure that, if it weren’t for Barcelona, he could have and likely would have spent his entire career at Arsenal. His love for the club and his admiration for Arsene Wenger has never been in doubt.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are reportedly preparing to spend big this summer after yet another disappointing season – Wenger has a reported budget of £70 million to throw around and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to find the Frenchman prepared to open negotiations for his former skipper.
He was sold for €40 million in 2011 and is now valued closer to £50 million but, for such an important figure in the club’s history, and for the immense morale boost it would bring to the fans and the players, it would be money well spent.
Cesc Fabregas was brought back to the Camp Nou because of his ‘Barcelona DNA’ but he could very well be lured back to the Emirates because of his ‘Arsenal DNA’.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald