The 27-year-old former Arsenal captain left the Emirates in 2011 to return to his boyhood club Barcelona from which he left aged 16. The Spain midfielder was coveted highly by the Catalans for two years prior to his £35 million move back to his homeland with the club infamously citing his ‘Barca DNA’ as a key reason Arsenal should not block his transfer that summer.
However, three years on and Cesc Fabregas is still not a regular first-team starter in his preferred position for club or country as he is still behind his compatriots Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the pecking order with reports that Barcelona are even considering a move for his young Spain colleague Koke at Atletico Madrid this summer.
Fabregas has a €200 million release clause in his contract, according to reports at the time of the sale and Arsenal have a clause in their deal with Barcelona that entitles the Gunners to first right of refusal should the Spanish giants decide to sell him.
However, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has stated the club ‘does not want to sell’ the player (or any players, for that matter) which seems a strange and somewhat confusing stance to take on the matter.
"We don't want to sell players. Barca do not want to sell Fabregas or any other players that may appear to be on the market," he said.
He then went on to discuss his admiration of 22-year-old midfielder Koke which, again, is a very confusing stance and seems somewhat contradictory in nature. The president is effectively saying Barcelona do not want to sell Fabregas. He did not say Barcelona will not sell the player or the player is not for sale. He has effectively sat on the fence to state that the club value the player, but I suspect the subtext remains ‘unless there is a substantial offer’.
Fabregas was not included in the promotional photo for the club’s new kit launch along with another notable omission in Alexis Sanchez who is also linked with a move away from the Camp Nou.
When a club really intends not to sell a player, they speak about the issue very differently. If Barcelona really do not intend to sell Fabregas this summer, they would and should have pointed to his €200 million release clause and said that is the only condition under which we would consider selling. The club have not said that, the president has chosen his words carefully to let potential suitors know they will need to make a substantial offer to get a deal for the player done but, ultimately, that a deal may just happen.