The Catalan midfielder who arrived back at his boyhood club in 2011 had been linked with a move to Manchester United this summer as the English champions looked for a long-term replacement for the now retired Paul Scholes.
Manager David Moyes came out publicly to speak about the Red Devils’ pursuit of Fabregas who soon after insisted he would be staying in Barcelona.
He told Canal +, “I know the boss has a starting team in his head, and I am not in it. I played a good game against Celta, and then I was left out for most of the two games [against Espanyol and AC Milan], and that really messes you up,” the Spaniard said this week of manager Gerardo Martino.
“Today I wanted to vindicate myself so that does not happen again.”
Since his departure from the Emirates in 2011 where he was club captain and the team’s most influential player, Fabregas has seen a reduction in his first-team opportunities behind the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. When he re-joined Barcelona they were in the charge of his idol Pep Guardiola who now resides in Munich with the European champions Bayern Munich.
With the World Cup in Brazil next summer, Fabregas’ place in the Spanish national team is in jeopardy and if he is not gaining regular access to starts behind Xavi and Iniesta for his club he will likely see his status diminished at international level with even more competition from the likes of Juan Mata and David Silva, amongst others.
Whilst he insisted he would never join English champions Manchester United – probably due to his respect and allegiance to Arsenal – I wonder if the reality of that move is a cumbersome temptation? United desperately require a creative midfield playmaker in the Scholes model and, especially given his Premier League experience, Fabregas would suit that role ideally. He could likely walk into David Moyes’ starting line up.
His former club Arsenal suffered a tough couple of years without him but with the arrival of Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil in the following transfer windows, and the emergence of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere along with the return of Mathieu Flamini, there is nowhere near the same requirement for him as there had been previously.
His old mentor Guardiola now at Bayern Munich would be probably his most preferred option if he were to leave the Spanish champions but his former Barca teammate Thiago Alcantara was the player to make that exact move this summer and Bundesliga champions already have Toni Kroos, new signing Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Spain teammate Javi Martinez to contend with.
It looks as though, yet again, Fabregas’ best option and likely his most preferred is to stay put, presently he also has an injury to contend with.
He may have to wait a season or two until he is given the chance and faith to eventually achieve his full potential at the Camp Nou and, in the long-term context, he’ll likely be behind Xavi and Iniesta for this World Cup but by the next one in 2018, he could very well be the star man for both club and country.
image: © Ines11thiago