Ever since Francesc Fabregas decided to leave FC Barcelona for Arsenal FC as a starry eyed 16 year old, debate has raged on about the manner of his departure and his inevitable return. As expected, opinions differ on both sides but a few misconceptions need to be cleared first.
For one, the management and coaching staff at Barcelona never wanted Cesc to leave which was quite evident by the fact that then President and manager of the club, Joan Laporta and Frank Rijkaard, made a personal plea to the young Catalan to reconsider his decision. But due to Spanish regulations and the fact that Barcelona were in the midst of elections, Barcelona were not able to hold on to the talented mid fielder.
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That is all in the past though as Fabregas has gone on to establish himself as one of the best players in the world at Arsenal while Barcelona have gone on to win a number of trophies in Spain as well as in Europe.
It seemed that things had settled down nicely on both sides. The Barcelona fans were happy because the club had been winning and the Arsenal fans were happy to see Fabregas develop into a world class player who could lead them to success. Things seem to be changing though with elections due in Barcelona.
The recent encounter between the two clubs seems to have given the ‘Fabregas to Barca’ rumors a fresh lease of life. It has been an open secret that Barcelona have always admired the Catalan playmaker but now with a new administration due to take over at the club, this interest might just turn into a bid to bring Cesc ‘back home’. This brings us to the inevitable question – Does FC Barcelona need Francesc Fabregas?
There is no doubt that Fabregas is a wonderful talent, but at Barcelona he would have to contend with two men who are arguably the only two better than him in his preferred position. In Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, Barcelona have the best mid field pairing in the world. The system which has been set in place is doing wonders and a change now could lead to undesirable results.
A few have suggested pushing Iniesta to the left wing thereby creating space for Fabregas but such a move would only make matters worse. Iniesta, for all his talents, has never looked comfortable on the left wing. He has never been a goal threat and playing Iniesta on the wing would mean compressing the entire formation leading to a lack of width. Iniesta is much better in the middle, where he orchestrates the attack along with Xavi. It has always been difficult for players to integrate into the Barcelona system, and while Cesc is a son of the same system, modifying it to accommodate one player could create problems in the long run.
Another reason that many Cules bring up is the abundance of talent in the Cantera, some of whom have the potential to, one day play for the Blaugrana. Many believe that bringing Fabregas back would set a bad example for the current crop of youngsters, who would also think of moving out in search of greener pastures in the safety of a return to Barcelona after achieving success outside.
The likes of Rafael Dos Santos, Thiago Alcantara, Sergio Roberto and the much touted Rafael Alcantara have shown great patience in waiting for their time in the sun and deserve to wear the colours of the Blaugrana at the expense of Cesc Fabregas. All have immense potential and if groomed, in the way Iniesta and Messi were, they might turn out to be better than Fabregas. Barcelona have adopted a system built around its youth policy and discarding that policy just for one player wouldn’t be a prudent thing to do.
That leaves us with another question – Is it worth paying a huge sum of money to get a player who is unlikely to be in the starting line-up than spending the same amount strengthening other areas of the pitch? He is a world class player who deserves to start; something which might not be possible if he makes a move back to the Camp Nou. Barcelona would be doing a great disservice to world football if they make Cesc Fabregas spend some of his best years on the bench.
Fabregas is a proud Catalan and his return to Barca is inevitable, but now does not seem to be the right time. One thing is certain though – the tradition of the Barcelona number ‘4’ is in safe hands. Cesc will return eventually but till then, let us appreciate and marvel at his incredible talent…