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What now for Cesc when he gets to Barca?

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Phil Minshull | 20:04 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2011

The four-year soap opera of Cesc Fabregas returning to his boyhood club Barcelona looks finally to be coming to an end.

It now seems pertinent to ask: what happens once he's signed on the dotted line for last season's winners of La Liga and the Champions League?

Going from being Arsenal captain to sitting on the Barca bench seems the most likely answer.

Despite his eagerness to secure his exit from the Emirates Stadium ever since Spain lifted the World Cup last summer, with the image of him donning a Barca shirt in the victory parade having haunted him for the last 12 months, most pundits in Spain believe that his price tag of around 40 million euros (£35m) will still not make him an automatic first choice at the Nou Camp.

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Fabregas was forced into a Barcelona shirt at Spain's post-World Cup celebrations

Barca obviously didn't do too badly without Fabregas last season and, so far, they haven't let go of any of the main components of their successes.

It's difficult, nay almost impossible, to see Cesc being put immediately ahead in the pecking order of anyone from the quartet of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets or Lionel Messi.

The only thing that would get him on the pitch from the start appears to be if one of them is injured or if Barca coach Pep Guardiola decides to rotate his squad to give someone a breather, which he rarely did last season.

The opportunities for Fabregas to feature in the Barca starting line-up also seem to become much more limited since the emergence over the summer of Thiago Alcantara, the undisputed star of Spain's European Under-21 triumph in June who also made an impressive debut for the Spanish senior side in Wednesday's 2-1 friendly loss to Italy.

Thiago, the 21-year-old son of Brazil's 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho, has almost the same attributes and talents as Fabregas and will be competing directly with him for playing time.

Like Fabregas, he is a product of the Barca youth team, having arrived at the age of 14, and is versatile player in the midfield and down both wings.

It seems certain that Fabregas will have to settle for being an impact player coming off the bench, which has been his prevailing image in Spain in the last 12 months since he was so effective in that role during the World Cup.

He only featured in four matches in South Africa, coming on in the second half in every case, and for a grand total of 126 minutes.

However, possibly the most telling statistic of the significance of his contribution was that he notched up 124 passes that found their man, the most important of which went to the feet of his soon-to-be new team mate Iniesta, who got the only goal of the final.

The key thing that appears to have kept Fabregas interested in coming back to Barca, after being born close to the city in the dormitory town of Vilassar de Mar just over 24 years ago, is the constant reassurance by Guardiola that he really does have a role at the club - despite widespread scepticism by football commentators across the nation.

The Barcelona-based daily newspaper Sport said on Wednesday that Guardiola has been in constant contact with Fabregas over the summer so that he doesn't get his head turned by any other offers.

Manchester City, Chelsea, Milan and Real Madrid have all apparently shown an interest in the unsettled playmaker while Barca were trying to finalise an agreement.

"In recent weeks, Guardiola and Cesc have spoken three times and the theme of the conversation has always been similar: the coach has promised that the club is doing everything possible to sign him and explained that he has definite plans about the manner in which he'll be incorporated in the team," revealed Sport.

If that is true, then Fabregas seems to have accepted not only a reduced pay packet - although Barca are likely to have indicated that he will be involved in various promotional schemes to ensure that his bank balance doesn't ultimately suffer - but a reduced footballing role.

One theory doing the rounds in the Spanish media, neither confirmed nor denied by anyone at the club, is that Cesc is actually a long-term replacement for the iconic Xavi who, at the age of 31, may now be looking at less time on the pitch himself in the coming season in order to preserve his battered legs.

Regardless of what he does with a football in the coming months, at least the acquisition of Cesc will provide Barca with a morale-boosting piece of one-upmanship over their perennial rivals Real Madrid, which might be worth the 40m euros alone.

The July 7, 2007 edition of daily sports newspaper Marca had the words "Madrid are offering between 35 and 40 million (euros) for the Catalan" on its front page, and every month or so since then, there have been suggestions that Real were seriously in the market for one of the best-known products of Barca's La Masia football factory.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I remember reading a while ago how Guardiola would consider switching to a 3-4-3 formation for home games and those against weaker teams, with Fabregas at the top of a diamond. With Messi, Villa and most likely Sanchez making up the front three it's a pretty formidable proposition (in an attacking sense at least).

  • Comment number 2.

    Barca squad is very strong but is needed if they want to win every trophy.

    I doubt Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets will play every game of the Barcelona season and with Injuries no line up is a certainty.
    Watching Barcelona this season will be more interesting with all the talent they have.

  • Comment number 3.

    This move is going to end in tears, mark my words.
    The Spain national team tells you everything you need to know about where Fabregas will play. And with Thiago (who is better imo) looking for a game too, Fabregas will do well to start 10 -15 games for the worlds best team.

    Isn't this the reason why he left Barcelona in the first place?

  • Comment number 4.

    @ 3 10maradonamac thiago alcantara is not NOT better than fabregas. if you want to know why. click the back button and then click the article which says "the Magic of Fabregas"

  • Comment number 5.

    Fabregas is a great player. he will shine because La Liga is much less competitive than the EPL and if he shines then he will have no problem starting games. Arsenal will certainly miss him. not to mention EPL fans. he is such a great player to watch.

  • Comment number 6.

    Has Arsene Wenger ever sold a player to see him move on to better things away from Arsenal? To my knowledge, no.

    This is not going to be an exception. Fabregas is about to become the latest and greatest player to regret leaving Arsenal, who will - as ever under Wenger - rebuild by buying someone who actually wants to be at the club, build his reputation, then gleefully sell him when he becomes a mercenary.

    Oh, and there's the small matter of Barcelona drowning in debt and not certain to fulfil their FFP obligations. Fabregas to return to Arsenal at half the price in two years' time, as Barca rush to balance the books and Fabregas realises his dream move has turned into a nightmare? This could be a spectacular deal even by Wenger's unparalleled standards.

  • Comment number 7.

    I will be gutted to see him go, his stats are plain to see. However, it's a lot of money and he is increasingly more injured. I'm sure he'll do well though and us Arsenal fans will wish him the best. All the pundits saying he won't get a game are talking nonsense. You can't compare him to Xavi and Iniesta when they have those others playing around them - remember it was Cesc who made the goal that won Spain the world cup.

    With regards to what happens to Arsenal now; I think we'll be ok. You don't want your best players to leave, and it looks like 2 of them are, but we have to get on with it. The rest of the side are still young and have now played together for a large number of seasons. The wheels aren't just going to fall off, as much as some pundits would like them to every season. Players leave. Ronaldo left and United coped.

  • Comment number 8.

    He's obviously replacing Xavi. However, Xavi surely has at least 2 more years in him... but I suppose Arsenal needed to Cash in.

    And at a good time too. Wilshere and Ramsey can replace Fabregas and Nasri, no problem.

  • Comment number 9.

    @ 3

    completely agree! this is the exact reason he left barca. not good enough to start, not sure he'll even be that impressive as a impact sub!

  • Comment number 10.

    he wont be sitting on the bench he will be doing the same as thiago which will be giving xavi and iniesta's breaks.. and who knows when cesc does arrive he may well be able to get a trophy within a week at Barca which wud be the SuperCopa.. least he'll finally get his hands on a trophy unlike his spell at arsenal

  • Comment number 11.

    Arsene Wenger might be a good manager, but he has precious little business sense, the best deals are always done when somebody else wants what you have! Fabregas should have been sold last year, when Barcelona were prepared to pay over £40 million for him. I can't see the point of hanging on to valuable players who aren't interested in playing for you. Arsenal will be much better off without him.

  • Comment number 12.

    Have I understood this correctly? Fabregas who has wanted to move to Barcelona for the past two years against Arsenal's wishes is entitled to £1m per year of his contract that he is not going to fulfil (even though it's his choice to leave). How does that make any sense? Who at arsenal are responsible for signing that clause in his contract? How can Fabregas morally take that payment?

  • Comment number 13.

    Guardiola has already said that he plans to play a 3-4-3 formation when against teams who just sit and defend. This system was previously used by barca when cruyff was in charge with the dream team.

    Its to be a diamond in midfield with fabregas at the head of it, so chances are he will get a lot of game time.

  • Comment number 14.

    He won't get a game all season and will be playing for Tottenham in 3 years. :(

  • Comment number 15.

    Well I aways said that it was inevitable that he would go, despite all the drum beating from Wenger and the Arsenal fans. Barca sign Fabregas and Sanchez. Others talk about closing the gap but right now it's becoming a chasm.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm sick that he is going - but go he should - Barca and Cesc have caused nothing but disruption to Arsenal the last couple of seasons.
    I think it is a little unfair though to label him an impact player when it comes to the national side. The way I saw it, both the Euro's and the WC, Spain played some really dull football and threw Fabregas into games as a sub when there was nothing down for the team. He changed things, they nicked a goal and won the competition, both times.

    Spain have outclassed Germany in the last decade when it comes to playing tedious and unexciting football. Germany played far more exciting and open football at the last WC but didn't win it. The world is upside down.

    Cesc must move on to new challenges now - avoiding getting splinters in his arse and convincing the Barca fans that he fits in somewhere between the current crop and the youngsters (Thiago Alcantara etc.) that are coming through. I think he along with many other ex-Gunners has made a mistake. Time will tell. One thing is for sure, there is never any turning back. They let him go - we took him to our hearts and helped him to be what he is. Now they want him back.
    Barca leave a bad taste in the mouth - for all their wonderful football - not forgetting the fact that they dive and bully refs; the way the club and the players have conducted themselves in this case is pretty poor.

  • Comment number 17.

    Barcelona is going to rotate more this season with all the competition there are participating. They played Messi in the early rounds of the Spanish cup last season which was done out of necessity. He will probably make about 15 starts this season. Arsenal will miss he more than Nasri as he is the only player they have who can unlock the defense with a pass. When he didn't play they had possession but it was always sideways or backwards. It is going to be frustrating watching them this season. Especially with all the speed on the wings those counter attack would have been nice to watch.Maybe Arshavin should move into a more central role this season. It could resuscitate the old player from the Euro's and his first season filling in at Striker.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fabregas is clearly a long term replacement for Xavi and Xavi is showing signs that his legs are going by the number of niggling injuries he is starting to get. Nothing serious but enough to put him out for a game or two. I can see Fabregas playing about 15 to 20 games next season. Xavi playing in the important games (most Champion League games and most La Liga) and Fabregas covering to play in the Copa del Rey, any Champions League dead rubbers ie Barcelona almost just have to show up to progress and weaker La Liga teams so Xavi doesn't have to play 2 games a week.

    Arsenal now with 30 million for Fabregas and 20 odd million for Nasri have to spend big and quickly on world class players.

    The whole episode has been a sorry saga. Rossell (spelling?) has shown he lacks the class or respect (or nationalism for that matter) of La Porta and ended up paying more than they wanted or possibly can afford. The worse part for Arsenal is that they have been bullied into selling a player like they used to bully other clubs into selling for less than they wanted. The only winners are Fabregas and Guardiola. Arsenal need to get their standing back and quickly. Sorry if I offended any Arsenal fans but that is the way I see it.

    Arsene Wenger is still a great tactician but appears to have lost his way in attracting players.

    Saying all this I would normally feel sorry for teams in Arsenal's situation but they used the exact same tactics in getting Alex Oxlade Chamberlain from Southampton so I have no sympathy but at least we are getting a reported 15 million an 40% sell on fee for a 17 year old who has never played above league 1. Sorry, couldn't resist the dig.

  • Comment number 19.

    It is ridiculous to say or even think Thiago is better than Cesc.Come on,guys!! Get real.This dude has barely played a competitive game and already there is a big hype around him.He would be having cameo appearances IMO if Fabregas is able to complete his move to Barca.Cesc is a catalan and they love him.Thiago played the game against Italy so that he's not snatched up by Brazil,that's all..The same thing was said about Bojan when he did magic with the junior team and the national junior side too but now where is he? Fabregas is clearly a long-term replacement for Xavi and not Alcantara.I see Alcantara as an "Iniesta" than a "Xavi"..He hasn't got the eye nor the patience like Fabricio.Go and check statistics for assists even between Xavi and Fabregas and you would think the latter is the former we are talking about!!

  • Comment number 20.

    @4 You should look up what IMO means, you can't respond to someone's opinions with the insinuation, of what is in reality, an ambiguous fact.

    Fabregas has made an ultimate error in following his heart. His reputation will suffer. They wanted him because as a manager you would love to have Fabregas as an option on the bench, or as cover, but as a player that cannot be want you want to achieve surely.

    Why is it so ridiculous to suggest that Thiago will be better than Fabregas. Considering few teams wanted to sign Messi because of his growth hormone defiency, you cannot really say anything about the progression of a player, until they have reached the make or break moment of their career.

    It's sad to see Fabregas leave the premiership, but for me last season a new star arose (Wilshere), and seeing as Fabregas wasn't as instrumental as previous seasons, it was only really their defence that stopped them from winning titles.

  • Comment number 21.

    What people fail to understand is this, a good player who plays for an average side like Arsenal and play well will even play better when he moves to a better side like Barca.
    Come to Thiago, do you think he can function in an Arsenal side? We mention Thiago today because he plays for Barca take, him to any other team he will disappear.
    Look at Messi in Argentina National team, people think he is not the same player but how can he be? He can't be because we don't have the Iniesta and the Xavi in Argentina National squad so my conclusion is any average player will play and shine if he plays in Barca because make a mistake and you will have people to cover you up
    Come on Fabregas it's time to move from the Football High School of London to the World Football University in Barcelona!! Follow the footstep of Thierry, Overmas, Pettit, Hleb, Slyvinho, Van Bronckhorst,

  • Comment number 22.

    8. Score it like Samir - SAVE 606 wrote:

    Wilshere and Ramsey can replace Fabregas and Nasri, no problem.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not being negative here but do you honestly believe that Wilshere/Ramsey are ready to replace the likes of Fabregas/Nasri? And even if they are, who would replace them in case of (god forbid) an injury to any of them ?

  • Comment number 23.

    Everyone thought it was curtains on Arsenals hopes of coming close to winning anything the season following Henrys departure to Barcelona. On the contrary the team kept it together and managed to finish 3rd compared to the previous seasons 4th with Mr. Henry and while scoring more goals in the process albeit thanks to the money grabber that is Adebayor. Although its definitely a dent in the armour its not the end of the world and if you remember back to when the debt ridden La Liga Lionel lovers gave us around £16million for the, in hindsight, extremely useless Hleb, then there's always that to help sweeten up the bitter taste of Barca poaching another one of our players.


    I also completely agree with Chrisrs (comment no.12). How did that happen? Unless we were naive enough to believe him when he said "My future belongs to Arsenal, and it is the truth. I have always said I want to play for Arsenal." after the Milan game as mentioned in the other article on Fabregas.

  • Comment number 24.

    He made exactly the right move. People concentrate on the fact that he'll be on the bench, maybe he will, but hes gone to Barca for 2 reasons:
    1) Its the club he supported as a boy.
    2) To win trophies.

    Arsenal have built a bit of a glorified losing mentality. Thats alright for some, but for a players whos got the best country honors of winning a world cup and a european cup being a glorified loser simply aint enough! He wants to win champions leagues and premier leagues, and he'll win them aplenty at barca.......

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes! Fabregas and Nasri, please move away from Arsenal so from the soccer point of view we can justify our bashing of the Gunners. So Evra (Man U) et al were right to say that Arsenal is a production factory for the top clubs by selling its top 2 players.

    My bet that Arsenal is going to finish outside top 4 is rising. Who is going to run the engine room in the short term -despite the fact that in recent times Wenger had demonstrated he could find another talent from somewhere?

  • Comment number 26.

    @ Anneeq

    I simply have to disagree. At the moment I feel like Barca are paying £35million for a fan who also happens to be a world lass player. He will perhaps realise that it is not as satisfying sitting on the bench watching your team do well or being brought on in the second half to allow others to rest when perhaps the victory has already been secured by your Messi's, Xavi's and Iniesta's.

    Especially since he is in some of the best years of his career I think it would have been wiser to stick with Arsenal at least until Xavi's role as a key player was more evidently on the decline.

    Then not only would Barca need him more meaning they would have given Arsenal more money which in a way could have been seen as a thank you from Cesc to Wenger for giving him the opportunities and having the faith he did.

    He would have left Arsenal with his head held high and Barca would have been signing a world class player who also happens to be a fan.

    Unfortunately my utopian Arsenal world does not exist and instead of giving himself the opportunity to become one of the only Spanish players to have two Premiership winners medals so far this century (and possibly ever?) he chooses to run back to the club that lacked faith in him as a boy.

  • Comment number 27.

    It would have been nice if this all ended in a swap deal for Thiago. Arsenals best player for Barca's best prospect since Messi. Regardless, Im still pretty sure that Fabregas should have been sold for alot more then 35 or even 40 million pounds. Is Fabregas worth more then Torres' current value... i think so. But with the cards that Arsenal are dealt with, there are very good replacements that can still be bought and are relatively cheap. Miralem Pjanic from Lyon and Alan Dzagoev from CSKA Moscow. Both are 21, playmakers, and have proven themselves in the Champions League, and in their domestic leagues. Pjanic has found it hard to get any game time at Lyon since Gourcuff arrived, and Dzagoev seems open to a move and has a low price tag, though CSKA are top of the league right now, so he might want to stay and win the league before moving.

  • Comment number 28.

    (Xavi) "Battered legs" ... in Spanish football? I thought they'd all mastered the art of 'falling, with style' :)

    Plus Puyol is on his team, so there goes any other excuse!

  • Comment number 29.

    With all due respect for my Arsenal friends, I'll have to put it rather bluntly - Fabregas might be too small for Barcelona, but he has become too big for Arsenal.. "From Arsenal captain to Barcelona bench.." That is the difference between the two clubs. Mascherano is doing the same thing..

  • Comment number 30.

    Just to add that the next Arsenal player to want to leave will be Wilshere. He will want to 'win trophies', most likely with Manchester United, although I will not write Chelsea off. Give him 2-3 years..

  • Comment number 31.

    It was inevitable and what Fabregas has wanted for some time.

    Fabregas will go from being captain at Arsenal to starting some games and warming the bench as an impact player mainly. It will sson enough show that his stats at Arsenal are just that - stats - and that as we see every week in the Prem, football is played in the field rather than paper and stats do not tell the full story.

    BUT FABREGAS WILL WIN TROPHIES which is what he wants, and will not get at Arsenal.

    Meanwhile, he will be replaced with youngsters at Arsenal, Arsenal will continue winning nothing, and Wenger will continua buying "schoolboys" with promise he can get cheaply, while promising "next season" and citing the immaturity of the team as the reason for not winning.

  • Comment number 32.

    I never thought this was going to happen, not this summer anyway, but by leaving Fabregas has shown that he does not consider Arsenal ambitious enough, even to the extent of going from captain, as you say, to benchwarmer. I mean Xavi has a couple more seasons in him, maybe more and although Barca's squad will be strengthened at what personal cost will that be for Cesc.
    I will be sad to see him go, he has been at times the ONLY one dogged and passionate player at the Arsenal and I cannot see who will step into that leadership role. Yes there is tons of talent there but a dominator is needed.
    As for Nasri going, he is just holding out for more cash and Citeh will pay him TWICE what Arsenal do now, a bit of a mercenary attitude if that is so, and thus he can join the rest of them at Etihad.
    Now squad strengthening will be imperative, and that does not include a potential talent for the future, after all how long will we wait for the last south coast lad to really come good?
    CB prices will inflate when Arsene takes a look if he has that 50 mill to spend.
    But still the flair and skill, sans Fabregas and Nasri will keep Arsenal in the top 4. This goalie will have a tremendous season and with a commanding CB and DM plus new help in the creative role ( Mata?) it still could all turn out well

  • Comment number 33.

    Fabregas may eventually take the place of Xavi in the Barcelona team but he can never replace him. To me Xavi is one of the greatest midfield players I have ever seen.

  • Comment number 34.

    Like a couple of recent posts stated, you can't knock an opinion, and mine is that Thiago is a better player than Fabregas. Thiago is operating at a much higher level than Fabregas has been for the past year or so, thus making the later a weaker option for me. If Cesc was as good as some people on here believe, he would already be a starting player for Spain.
    Also, to say that Xavi is almost done is crazy! He will be playing the exact same way in 5 years time, still the heartbeat for Barca.
    Remember Hleb, Henry, Petit, etc? Cesc is next to warm the Barca bench.

  • Comment number 35.

    Fabregas will deeply regret his move unless its purely money motivated. Should have stayed with a Manager that gets the best out of him, and with fans that idolise him.

    Did Henry become a better player or Patrick Vieira when they left? Not related to Fernando Torres is he?

  • Comment number 36.

    Fabregas is more of a luxury signing to Barcelona. He will definately improve their squad depth. Also he is a lot more attack minded than Xavi and is more involved in creating and scoring goals so he would a perfect option to bring on as a substitute in tough European matches when Barca are struggling to break down teh oppopsition. I think he will definately get more than a few league games under his belt and i expect Pep to rotate a lot more this season with the arrival of Sanchez and the emergence of Alcantarra.

  • Comment number 37.

    Vieira & Henry were pastg their best when they left Arsenal & Wenger chose when to allow them to leave, it is different with Cesc.

    I think he will get more games than people think, he would get into any midfield in the world as a starter with the exception of this Barca side but Xavi has had tendonitis problems in the last 2 seasons and Iniesta & Busquets will also need breaks (consdider that from the start of 2009 season they have played almost non-stop) so I see him playing a lot of football, the guy is world class!

    With the addition of the busy & skillful Sanchez it can be argued that this side is moving further clear of the rest. I know people say La Liga is uncompetive but if we didnt have two Billionaires bankrolling Chelsea & City we would have a two club race as well & this Barca side would be hammering most of our teams as well so I do think we overstate that point.

    The biggest loser in all of this is Wenger, he sold a vision to his captain & now it seems like he has lost faith in Arsene's 'project' along with Nasri. Wenger is a top coach but is living on past achievements as Arsenal & will need to act quick to satisfy fans demands for the team to be genuine contenders for major honours & however he dresses it up the side will not be any stronger for losing its two most influential midfielders to rival clubs.

    The arrival of Abramovixh spelt the end of Wengers ability to compete at the very top (you can trace the tail off in performance to Mourinho's time) as he was unable to pick up the players that Utd did not need, the more money that others had to spend has coincided with this barren run & he must now show ambition to break this & not complain about how unfair it all is. Buy a GK, two centre halves, two midfielders and another centre forward or the upcoming season will be like the last 6.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 6 ShinyDavidHowell

    How about Patrick Vieira? 4 Serie A Championships at Inter and 1 stripped at Juve. As well as a Coppa Italia if i remember right. Not bad i'd say. And in this period Arsenal won nothing (strange correlation that).

    As much as i hate to see him leaving i wish Fabregas all the best at Barcelona. I hope that he gives the Barca fans as much joy as he brought me as a Gooner

  • Comment number 39.

    Question?

    If Guardiola and Cesc have been in contact all summer and Arsenal's stance has been "meet our valuation or forget it", then surely Barca didn't have permission to speak to Cesc about any matters relating to attempts to sign him?

    Tapping up comes to mind!

  • Comment number 40.

    So, if Pep Guardiola is gonna play the 3-4-3 formation, who will be missing at the back.
    Abidal? Puyol? It's definetly not Pique or Alves.......................................
    So yeah, Fabregas will get 10-15 games at the la liga but against teams like real madrid, i think he will be a benchwarmer in those games.
    1 more question, on the arrival of winger Sanchez, is Pedro gonna be on the bench?

  • Comment number 41.

    One thing Cesc will not miss is being a near miss.
    He and Pepe will have already discussed plans and both will be happy with them.
    Xavi is now in his 30's and there can be no doubt that even the little magician, like Paul Scholes will start to struggle with injuries if he is not rested from time to time.
    It's a safe bet that he will be given enough games to keep him happy....ish.

  • Comment number 42.

    Man City, There the ones who always bottle it and lose to United in the 94th minute will have 42 players if they buy Nasri, that's 17 more than Chelsea!!! They will have 12 midfielders and Nasri doesn't really undersatand that he will spend a lot of time on the bench as may Fabregas at Barca. It seems these players are being bought to weaken the opposition and stop others getting them rather than through necessity. How many players can City continue to buy, can they actually just buy every player and have a squad of 1000? and win by forfeit? Chelsea spend big but when they need it, they loan out players but only when they are young or in development. Nasri will regret this when he ends up like Given being a bench warming loser who entual destin followed the gold, eventual destination...psg

  • Comment number 43.

    In my opinion, Arsenal already have a World Class midfielder ready to take over from Cesc or Samir when they go. If he stays fit, Tomas Rosicky can be one of the most lethal midfielders in the world. Also, as somewhat of a rarity in Arsene Wenger's team these days, he is not afraid to shoot from distance. Remember his strike against USA at the 2006 World Cup?

  • Comment number 44.

    @42
    I agree on everyword you say. If Nasri goes to City, I guess it means the end of Adam Johnson, where he will be in the bench most of the time unless................................
    SIGN HIM UP AVB, WE ARE IN NEED OF A SKILLFUL WINGER AND JOHNSON IS THE RIGHT GUY. Imagine English talent on both flanks(Sturridge and Johnson)

  • Comment number 45.

    Carlsberg dont do subs, but if they did........


    Astonishing move. He will struggle for games from the word go, is often injured himself, and will find himself in a cuture where a few bad passes result in derision and being hooked, as opposed to getting the ball back all the time as happens in the EPL.

    Plus this is Messi, Xavi and inietas team, when he plays he would be like maybe the 5th or 6th best player in that side. hard to accept reduced billing when you are used to being the creative centerpiece.

  • Comment number 46.

    Let it be. Let it be.There will be an answer. Let it be.(The Beatles)

  • Comment number 47.

    We have seen the rise and decline of a remarkable man - Arsene Wenger. His decline has been particularly painful to watch as it has been over a long period of time, as well as a little premature because it could have been prevented if the Arsenal board kept him on the straight and narrow, instead of giving him a blank cheque.
    My guess is that he will be managing PSG in two year's time and will last exactly one season there. PSG will have some of the best players in the world at their disposal, and Arsene does not do top world calss experienced players...

  • Comment number 48.

    @ 6 ShinyDavidHowell

    Gio Van Bronkhorst......sold by Arsene to Barca and then went on win the European Champions League, bizarrely beating Arsene and Arsenal in the process.

  • Comment number 49.

    @6, this sounds primarily like wishful thinking. The vast majority of players Arsene let move on were approaching the twilight of their careers and he had done well and let them move on at the right time. He's been holding on to Fabregas for at least 3 years now in desperation, however with the emergence of Wilshere he probably feels his team is now able to cope. There has been no question over the last 5 years that Cesc is the man that makes Arsenal tick. Others will now need to step up.

    I dont agree that he won't start and will be a perpetual bench warmer. There are many options open to Pep Guardiola now. Iniesta for example has proven in the past he can successfully play in the left sided attacking role for both club and country. I imagine Busquets could comfortably slot into a central defensive position. Something he may have to do more often with Puyols increasing injury problems. Mascherano was used in that role last season but it gives far more cover in that area. Guardiola will really have a squad to utilise this season and if he does it successfully I can see Barca winning all before them again. If he fails to fit the likes of Thiago, Sanchez and Fabregas in alongside team regulars such as Pedro Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets it may cause problems with team harmony. I think however most managers in the world would love to have that dilemma and love to have the option of Fabregas.

    And yes he did move to Arsenal to get first team action. At 16. And he was getting a game regularly by 18. If anything this may be the reason he has suffered so many niggling injuries in the last 2 years due to Arsenals over reliance on him. He'll probably make around 30 starts next season, which sounds alot but it'll be nearer to half what he has been. He's effectively been on a long term loan.
    Xavi, will not be used as much this season. Iniesta will also be given time to rest. Messi will not be relied upon to play every game.
    I think anyone who thinks he'll flop are hoping it will happen as much as anything.

    Viera left Arsenal and they won nothing and he won 4 Scudettos.
    Henry left a season after losing the Champions League final to Barcalona. In his 1st season he played a key part in the team that won the treble (including the champions league) and finished as their top scorer with 19 goals. The following season, he, Eto'o and Messi scored 72 goals between them. It was only the emergence of Pedro the season after that that saw his influence wane. Not exactly what you would call a fall from grace after leaving Arsenal. Arsene doesn't always get it right. They haven't won anything since letting Sol Campbell leave in '06 for example.

    In short when Fabregas goes, he will play, not every game butnhe wont be a fringe player either, he will most likely have success and win things. Arsenal will continue to buy young kids and bring them through. They will only avoid falling backwards by signing a dominant centre half, a single replacement for the departing Fabregas and Nasri and a top class gk.

  • Comment number 50.

    44 Krish-The-Dude_CFC

    @42
    I agree on everyword you say. If Nasri goes to City, I guess it means the end of Adam Johnson, where he will be in the bench most of the time unless................................
    SIGN HIM UP AVB, WE ARE IN NEED OF A SKILLFUL WINGER AND JOHNSON IS THE RIGHT GUY. Imagine English talent on both flanks(Sturridge and Johnson)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Couldn't agree more. I'd be more than happy for Johnson to arrive at Stamford Bridge, and in the formation you suggest.

    It's time for the Drog and Anelka to move on.

    A front three of Johnson, Torres and Sturridge would surely have goals in it. Kalou can play a part in that and with Lakuka perhaps on the way, that side of things would be sorted, with a capital S!

    We still haven't sort right back out though. Ferreira and Bosingwa don't convince. The rest of the defence is fine.

    Lampard has another season in him with McEachran playing more and more as time goes on.

  • Comment number 51.

    Very interesting read...have to agree with all those who say that Wenger has lost his way...he should've taken a page from Sir Alex's book and seen the way Man Utd handled the Ronaldo transfer, selling him when the going was golden (yes I'm making my own expressions:P) the time to sell Cesc was last year, this year was 12 months too late in terms of the money that Wenger was able to generate from the sale..
    As for Cesc settling at Barcelona, that really shouldn't be a problem, he has been a Catalan and will surely have no problems adjusting back..wishing him all the best :)

  • Comment number 52.

    6 wrote

    Has Arsene Wenger ever sold a player to see him move on to better things away from Arsenal? To my knowledge, no.


    to my knowledge thierry henry.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think Pep realised that he needs a bigger sqaud and rotate more because Barca limped over the line in the league when Madrid were on fire but were too far behind.

    Xavi is not getting any younger and he gets the odd muscle injury which is a sign that his body wont last much longer, therefore although cesc wont perhaps play in the big games to start, it will only get better. Iniesta also picks up knocks. Cesc could also play in the Busquets role or move further forward although they have Sanchez and Affelay. The one I really feel sorry for is Thiago because he was perfect to help rotate the midfield.

    As for the myth that Arsenal players dont do well after leaving, Henry, Overmars, Anelka, Vierra etc have all done well. Hell even Flamini has won the league since he left

  • Comment number 54.

    #52 Meido

    Following on from that, did Vieira win a league title at Inter? Also, Overmars and Petit probably did more than ok at Barcelona.

    Then there's Anelka. European Cup winner with Real Madrid in 2000.

    Arsenal seem to be a profit making club, that play some profit making football but in 15 years (!) Wenger has won three league titles and four FA Cups I think. At a club of that size, with that much money and with that level of continuity, should Arsenal fans expect more?

  • Comment number 55.

    @11 brazilwatcher: You're right of course, but it seems like Wenger is going to be damned whatever he does. Everyone was criticising the potential sale of Fabregas last year, so Wenger kept him. Now what happens? People are criticising him for not selling him last year when he was worth more! It would probably be a similar case with Nasri, though it would pain me if he joined City, who I can't even recognise as a football club in my mind... And I'm not even an Arsenal fan.

  • Comment number 56.

    #6 Has Arsene Wenger ever sold a player to see him move on to better things away from Arsenal? To my knowledge, no.

    this is slighlty incorrect when u consider that Anelka won the CL when at Madrid although he has never really looked as good since his Arsenal days.

    I think Gio van Bronkhurst certainly went onto better things & Henry although without doubt on decline was part of a front 3 that scored over 100 goals in a season winning every competition they entered.

    I think your point is partially correct as with Anelka & Henry the teams were built around them whereas at other teams they simply fitted into system. So in theory they should have performed better at Arsenal. This could be argued as to why Wenger is so good, he recognises his star man and alters team according to strengths

  • Comment number 57.

    @ 48 Jumpers & 6 ShinyDavidHowell

    I was just about to add Gio but i guess Jumpers beat me to it.

    Also Henry didn't do to bad after he left did he? - 2 La Liga, 1 Copa Del Rey, 1 Champions League. And as much as i hate to say it Cashly has won his fair share too.

  • Comment number 58.

    Can we honestly expect Wenger to break with his "model" and reinvest funds from sale of Fabregas & Nasri on 3 world class 25-30 year olds who will fit into team now. As much as I really like Arsenal and other players will step into/up within team i just don't think they can absorb the loss. Rosicky isn't good enough, Arshavin is but is too inconsitent. Wilshire (will be great) cannot be expected to do it all on his own just now. Defence is not good enough and needs overhaul. I hate saying this but i think that Wenger is on his last legs if he doesn't break with philosophy.

  • Comment number 59.

    54 mrblueburns

    how are you today?

    because others had mentioned viera and co already i never seen henry mentioned to which he won the treble with barca.

    but all others welcomed.

  • Comment number 60.

    54 mrbb

    i think they should expect maybe a litlle bit more like a league cup or an fa cup or some kind of cup to shout about every year or 2 and a league once in 3 years if i was a gooner i'd be happy with that. but as most bang on about the manager dont seem to fill the gaps needed to provide this.

  • Comment number 61.

    Mr Blueburns wrote
    We still haven't sort right back out though. Ferreira and Bosingwa don't convince. The rest of the defence is fine.

    I really like Ivanovic, think he's a solid defender, what is your verdict on him and do u think Chelsea need more of a wing back (Glen Johnston mould, but not him obviously)

  • Comment number 62.

    £40 million for a bench-warmer. Just goes to show how much better Spanish football is than 'the most over-rated league in the world' (TM), when your star player is a squad player in La Ligue

  • Comment number 63.

    Money, greed, sentimentality, and the destruction of a great career, a great player, one of the best, a snip at £38m unless his dodgey knee is finally revealed.
    Barcelona have behaved like opportunist predators, their sportsmanship and integrity and reputation are in tatters.

  • Comment number 64.

    souness_the_tash_years - he would walk into any other La Liga side? Does that make the who league weak now?

    Barcelona have Xavi and Iniesta starting and i assume Tiago would provide cover and come in for the weaker teams. Fabergas isn't going to upset the Xavi-Iniesta partnership. Sure, he is going to have a roll at Barca, warming the bench.

    What is the point spending £35million on a player that isn't going to be starting? With Tiago coming through surley this move will limit his game time thus restrict his development.

    This could be a case of having too many good players. Unless Fabregas gets off to a flyer and displaces either Xavi or Iniesta this move could ruin his career and stunt the development of one of Spains youngest stars in Tiago.

  • Comment number 65.

    63. At 11:58 12th Aug 2011, goonergetit wrote:

    "their sportsmanship and integrity and reputation are in tatters."


    More like Arsenal's reputation of a small reselling club, a Lyon but without the titles, is confirmed, as is the PL's reputation of a poor man's La Liga.

  • Comment number 66.

    #61 Xavisimplythebest

    Mr Blueburns wrote
    We still haven't sort right back out though. Ferreira and Bosingwa don't convince. The rest of the defence is fine.

    I really like Ivanovic, think he's a solid defender, what is your verdict on him and do u think Chelsea need more of a wing back (Glen Johnston mould, but not him obviously)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I liked Glen in his Chelsea days but you always watched him with an air of nervousness.

    No, I will simply settle for a right footed Ashley Cole. Not too much to ask is it?

    As for Ivanovic, I just question his mobility. I may be wrong, and perhaps we will go the season with Cole/Terry/Luiz/Ivanovic and if we did, I would be comfortable with that.

    Of course, the great white hope was Sam Hutchinson who sadly had to retire, after having made his first team debut.

  • Comment number 67.

    Unlike Arsenal, all other top teams are trying to get two very good players for every position and it turns out (as I said over a year ago now) it is a very foolish idea trying to force a player to stay when they have indicated their mind lies elsewhere.

    Best option is do what man United did - get a very good value for them while you still can with minimum disruption to the rest of the team (Ronaldo) or settle the matter once and for all with a bumper new contract (Rooney)

  • Comment number 68.

    I think the clamour for Cesc wouldn't be as strong if he was not a Catalan, I can see Pep rotating the squad more this season than last, mainly to try and keep everyone happy. I think he will play a large number of games, whether he and Xavi share a starting/subs role next season remains to be seen. I personally hope his arrival will not stunt the progress of Thiago and he ends up becoming disillusioned in a similar way to Bojan, who after a great start, never fulfilled his potential. I'd rather have spent the money on a new centre back, an area in which we do not have proficient cover, especially with Pique getting injured recently and long term injury to Puyol.

  • Comment number 69.

    Has Arsene Wenger ever sold a player to see him move on to better things away from Arsenal? To my knowledge, no.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yeah Henry did nothing at Barcelona did he, only winning two titles, the Champions League, the spanish cup and the club world cup.

    More importantly for Arsenal though, has their constant selling of their best players EVER helped them? Clearly not, and it won't again.

  • Comment number 70.

    MrBlueBurns wrote:
    No, I will simply settle for a right footed Ashley Cole. Not too much to ask is it?

    So who would you like then if money was no object??? Oh forgot ur a chelsea fan :). Just who would you go for at right back?

    Could you see the new manager playing with 3 at back against so called weaker teams and really having a go??

    I'm hoping that he does go for the high scoring wins and not shut up shop when game is won.

  • Comment number 71.

    I think Cesc is showing a lack of desire going to Barca.
    Im a Chelsea fan but come on, average Barca player or Arsenal legend?
    I genuinly believe Arsenal are a goalkeeper, CB and left midfielder away from becoming a real force, not to mention the magnificent style they play. I hope it comes back to haunt him.
    I dont care where or how he plays for Barca, La Liga is a poor league when standing alongside the Prem, bye bye Cesc, lets watch jack and aaron tear things up.

  • Comment number 72.

    @40. i also wonder wat will become of Pedro with the coming of Sanchez.

  • Comment number 73.

    im not sorry to see fabregas go, he shone in an average midfield, yes he had great games but not against the big boys, and also is very injury prone..Nasri has been with us for 3 season and played well for 6 months...so £52m for both is great buisness considering what we paid for them. We can now get a quality centre back and with the funds to also get Mata/Jadson would be steady and exciting replacements. along with Gervinho who looks good and quick and the Ox plus Walcott and Ryo plus a decent keeper in chesney and Vermaelen back, we will end up with a stronger squad than last season with bags of pace that we have been missing over the past few years...if that £52m is spent on 3 players by the end of august and we dont have a bad start to the season then it certainly wont be doom and gloom...

  • Comment number 74.

    ShinyDavidHowell wrote:
    Has Arsene Wenger ever sold a player to see him move on to better things away from Arsenal? To my knowledge, no.

    Henry? Gio? won european cups something arsenal has yet to do, Henry also went on to win 6 trophies in one season La liga, Copa del Rey, Championsleague, Super Copa Espana, Super Copa UEFA and World Club FIFA think its safe to say Cesc will achieve similar titles at Barca

  • Comment number 75.

    #70 Xavisimplythebest

    MrBlueBurns wrote:
    No, I will simply settle for a right footed Ashley Cole. Not too much to ask is it?
    ----------------------------------
    So who would you like then if money was no object??? Oh forgot ur a chelsea fan :). Just who would you go for at right back?

    Could you see the new manager playing with 3 at back against so called weaker teams and really having a go??

    I'm hoping that he does go for the high scoring wins and not shut up shop when game is won.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    From what I have read (and the little I have seen) Villas-Boas does not shut up shop, no more than Ancelotti did (for an Italian.)

    Back three? Effectively, with Cole being so attacking and with a forward thinking right back (don't get me wrong, Ivanovic at right back get's forward enough) it has been the case for a while now that Mikel drops, or holds, and we have a back three anyway.

    Best right back? Don't know, but I know that we probably should look at something different to what we have.

  • Comment number 76.

    RE Coment #32

    "As for Nasri going, he is just holding out for more cash and Citeh will pay him TWICE what Arsenal do now, a bit of a mercenary attitude if that is so, and thus he can join the rest of them at Etihad."

    It was frustrating to see A. Cole go to Chelsea for 15k a week more and that can be seen as mercenary... but to double your wages from 90k to 180k? That's a no brainer... plus Arsenal is still getting 22-24 million pounds....

  • Comment number 77.

    "Saying all this I would normally feel sorry for teams in Arsenal's situation but they used the exact same tactics in getting Alex Oxlade Chamberlain from Southampton so I have no sympathy"

    Oh yeah it's exactly the same. I remember all the Arsenal players ramming an Arsenal shirt over Chamberlains head on tv and talking about him non-stop to the press saying he should could home and taking him through a guilt trip then not offering enough money for him.
    Ive lost a lot of respect for them after these events and the El Classico

  • Comment number 78.

    A really good debate about the Chelsea defence here! Who cares about Fabregas anyway?!!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    Can only see Fabregas being used as a 'bit-part' player for Barca to be honest. It almost feels like a sentimental purchase rather than one out of necessity. Arsenal are going to lose significantly more than Barcelona will gain.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 80.

    #78 FurryHaze

    Frankly, all this talk about 'saga of the summer' etc is nonsense really. The player or his agent or a member of the press has drip fed stuff for ages and made it protracted but how much actual (as opposed to horse-trading and innuendo) substance has there been? Not very much.

    Look, he's going and that is that. Let's move on and see what's happening for the new season. The problem is that because 606 was kicked out, people still want a forum to talk about football generally and therefore they jump onto any blog and talk about what they want to talk about.

    As far as the English league goes, Chelsea's defence is more relevant to the company season that Fabregas leaving.

  • Comment number 81.

    Fabregas is a great player but seriously he is not going to walk into the greatest club side in history. I could point out Javier Mascherano, captain of Argentina, head turned by the Barca machine, now professionally warms the bench. I know they are not really similar players but the price tags are not far off. Cesc will be nothing more than a bit part player (a 35million pound one). Pep does not really do squad rotation, he likes to win games with his team that has basically swept all before them. If anyone can tell me what Cesc brings to the Barca team apart form being a 'hometown boy' I would really like to know.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 71

    YOU REALLY DO SOUND LIKE A CHELSEA FAN!

    Cesc wants to play for the best team and win the trophies which you can look back on when your career ends. Cesc has won a FA cup and Community Shield in his 7-8 years at Arsenal. The boy has enough quality to make the Barcelona first 11 and he will do.

    Alot of players have gone from Arsenal and won major honours although they may not be in their greatest form i.e. Henry. He still won a trophies which he was missing 'The Champions League'
    Vieria won a host of trophies post Arsenal.

    Biggest trouble for Arsenal in the next few years is keeping hold of their top players who will be frustrated at not winning any silverware.
    Van Persie at 28 having won just a FA Cup and Community shield may look elsewhere for major honours.

    I saw this video and found it very funny about wenger
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDBLSUKJiDY

  • Comment number 83.

    I've got a lot of respect for Wenger. The footballing mantra that he's instilled successfully into the club, and his seemingly inexhaustible patience have convinced me that he's one of the greatest. I've got a sneaky feeling that despite all the gloom surrounding Arsenal at the moment, that they'll come out the better for it. I really hope they do (I've got no particular affiliation with Arsenal). Wilshere and Ramsey, you just watch, you just watch.

    In a mean kind of way, I hope that Fabregas is neglected at Barca, and ooooh wouldn't it be brilliant to see Barca drawn against Arsenal in the Champions League Quarters, a Fabregas own goal sees Barca knocked out and a surprise appearance from David Seaman for the Gunners would be the cherry on top.

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 20 mcguirk12
    IMO means "In my Opinion". What 10maradonamac was saying that Thiago is better NOW. Not in the future. Your right. you cannot assume that Fabregas will be better than thiago in 4 years time or whenever in the future. but CURRENTLY fabregas is a better player than thiago.

  • Comment number 85.

    It has long been my opinion that Fabregas is the long term replacement for Xavi. Despite him being a Masia product, it generally takes close on a year for new players to fit into the way Barcelona play. Fabregas should take less time, but he will still be used sparingly in the first year.
    This is the year that Xavi gets to see his future role, which will be put in place next year.
    I also feel that this year Real Madrid are theteam to beat rather than Barvelona.

  • Comment number 86.

    Someone mentioned Abramovich as being a reason Wenger cannot compete any more because he can't simply buy up the players Man Utd don't want. While I agree partially I think another reason is purely financial. When Abromovich came in he could blow everyone out of the window when it came to transfers. Manchester United were the only ones that could hope to match him without piling on ridiculous amounts of debt. The reason Manchester United never blew Arsenal out of the water was because as a business there was never a reason to do so. (IE why spend an extra £50Million every summer just to guarantee 1st place when without it we were winning it at least every other year without spending.

  • Comment number 87.

    Considering the relative ease with which Barca won La Liga and Champions League last season, in all likelihood Fabregas will win more in his first season there than all his years at Arsenal. If that means sacrificing a few quid then why not! He wants trophies and who can really blame him? He's been a great servant to the Gunners who at the end of the day can't/won't match his ambitions. Most likely Wenger has been promising him (and perhaps Nasri too) big-name signings for the past couple of years, but who has arrived? Agree with Words of Wisdom @15, Barca sign Sanchez and Cesc, while their nearest rivals for Europe's top honour buy Ashley Young and Phil Jones. Another trophy-littered year at Camp Nou on the horizon me thinks...

  • Comment number 88.

    Pep has already announced that he will play a 3-4-3 in case Cesc comes into Nou Camp with Cesc as the head of the mid field diamond... I hope Barca are able to defend the CL this season, a feat no club has achieved till date!

  • Comment number 89.

    I hope he replaces the racists play-actor Busquets he embarrassed himself and the game of football in the semi finals of the CL last season.

  • Comment number 90.

    I think Wenger is a genius actually.

    Sell him for 35m, allow him a season of sitting on the bench and playing second fiddle and then buy him back for 20m, netting the club 15m profit in the process.

    Very shrewd I'd say.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think the article is underestimating Fabregas.
    I think he is better than Iniesta or Busquets. Also, if he is to replace Xavi at some point, I dont think there could be anyone better or more suited to do so for Barca.

    The only problem for Cesc is that it will take him time to adapt to the Barca style of play, but I cant see why that will not happen.
    I have watched Xavi for many years at Barca and never really appreciated him until this modern style of play by barcelona has been perfected. I can now fully see how good he really is.
    Iniesta also has been at Barca for a long time now, and has never been a guaranteed starter. He would always come off the bench, and at one point I can remember any of the big clubs in England could of had him easily. This was even before Fabregas made a name for himself at Arsenal.
    Busquets and Pedro, I dont really know too much about but look very good in this Barcelona system.
    The point i'm trying to make is these players are able to showcase their talents because the style of play at Barca allows them to do this. We all know Fabregas is an immense talent, and this system should also do the same for him. Once, or, as soon as he adapts we should see the real talents of Cesc, and then in my opinion we will see that he has more depth and fire in his game than Busquets or Iniesta, and should then be primed to become a perfect replacement for the amazing Xavi Hernandez.
    The futures bright for Barca, the futures Cesc.

  • Comment number 92.

    Cesc is class, world class. He'll flourish at Barca. He's good enough to be their main man, and talk of him warming the bench is misguided. As an Arsenal fan and lover of beautiful football I'm sad to see him go, but I understand and wish him every success.

  • Comment number 93.

    The first question I have to ask is am I reading about the same player? This is the Fabregas that has never fulfilled his early promise as a replacement for Viera? The same guy that's never inspired me beyond his ability to play in the odd decent ball to the forwards, and that only against the lesser lights?

    I'm sorry, but as an older fan I have never seen what all the fuss about Fabregas is about? I read the article about his talent on here, and wondered whether the it was more about the usual journalistic tendency to rave over a player because he's leaving Arsenal than the players actual delivery?

    Yes he's a 'good' player. Yes on his day he can spray passes around well. But that's it. He's not the Pele like figure that I seem to be hearing about at the moment, nor. frankly, is his departure that much of a big deal. Myself, and plenty of other Arsenal fans have had him down as a 'icing on the cake' player rather than a vital element of a trophy winning team for years........

    Will he get regular football at Barca? Who knows? He will certainly have to get tougher than he is now to get regular football in a genuinely competitive league like Spain's. Unlike the rubbish EPL, he will have to get himself stuck in against 12 plus capable sides rather than just four....... and none of them were 'that' inspiring last season.

    In all honesty, I really don't care 'who he will replace/play along side at Barca. Why would I?

    There are bigger issues in the world.......

  • Comment number 94.

    @ 42 londonsfinestclub

    You say about Man city buying up every player at the moment, but that is exactly what chelsea did a few years ago. Remember Geremi?! Had one good season, got linked with a few clubs so chelsea bought him just so their rivals couldn't. Then stuck him on the bench to rot! Is exactly the same as what city are doing now!

    Johnson could have been a great player, but i very much doubt he will reach his potential now. same as Wright-phillips, good player, very fast, bought by chelsea to stop arsenal and a few other clubs bidding for him, then wrecked his career, sold him back to city and now he's in exactly the same situation!

  • Comment number 95.

    he is obviously a replacement for the aging Xavi... Xavi has a couple of years left in him at best... plus he can fill in for Iniesta when he is injured... Thiago is not at all like Fabregas, but just like Fabregas he will be warming a bench...

    I think Guardiola has realized that he needs a bigger squad without a talent dropoff... Fabregas will occupy the same role as he does for Spain...

  • Comment number 96.

    Gotta say that I'm not happy to see him go, but it was inevitable. Well, maybe not, perhaps if Arsenal had won something then Cesc could've been convinced to stay another season or so. I'll just be perfectly honest and say that this is the weakest Arsenal team in recent memory.

    Arsenal need to sign another midfielder, and two other defenders. Good ones this time. I figure that Arsenal will finish in the top four, the idea that they won't seems a bit too far-fetched but I figure that we'll manage fourth, fight for 3rd, with lots of luck maybe get second but I don't see us winning the EPL this season.

    I will also say that Barcelona with a still improving Messi, upcoming Thiago and the recent acquisitions of Cesc and Sanchez will now be almost unbeatable. Fergie appears to not let himself retire, or die - whichever comes first, until he beats them. But in my opinion the gap between Barca and everyone else couldn't be larger, so uh, I hope he's healthy.

  • Comment number 97.

    Im sorry, Xavi, at 31, having to have a replacement for "battered legs"??. That is absolutely ridiculous.

    However I absolutely agree that Fabregas could have furthered his footballing career by going to another big European club-it seems his obsession with Barcalona will relegate him to the sidelines, which is a massive shame.

    The most interesting story that comes out of this is Arsenal's panic-how are they going to recover from the loss of "Cesc" AND Nasri?

    They Aren't.

  • Comment number 98.

    @94
    But How many strikers do City buy and sell. They have Adebayor, Tevez, Dzeko, Balloteli, Aguero, Bellamy, Jo(?), and that new guy they've signed.
    8 strikers. If Tevez stays and Adebayor stays, they will just be in the bench except Aguero and Tevez and some may not even make the bench.
    By the way Chelsea may offload some strikers, eg: Kalou, Anelka, Malouda, keep Drogba and let him tell Lukaku his secret on "HOW TO DESTROY ARSENAL" and hopefully when Drogba goes, Lukaku will continue doing what Drogba did to Arsenal, so Arsenal fans, you've got a another problem: LUKAKU

  • Comment number 99.

    Not sure that Fabregas is going to 'warm the bench'. The player who will be warming the bench even more will be Keita. In fact, I expect Keita to leave either during the January window, or next summer.
    Longer term, Fabregas is meant to replace Xavier Hernandez (to use his proper name). In the mean time, Fabregas (as well as Thiago Alcantara) both go straight into midfield, allowing Iniesta to play in a attacking role when either of the front three is either rested or injured. Barcelona's strength is in midfield - that is where they kill their opponents. The strength and depth of their midfield is now at the level that they have always wanted, and their game will now have the consistency of a swiss made watch.

    As for Arsenal - where do I start? Poor Arsenal! Jack Wilshere, being English, will soon be too expensive for them, and he will want to 'win trophies' as it were. I am sure Wilshere will not be forcing his way to Camp Nou, but to the footballing home of the most successful English footballers of the PL era. You know where.. I would not go as far as saying that he has defacto been bought and loaned back to Arsene for 'further development', but close. 'Long tern replacement for Paul Scoles' has been metioned many, many times, and no name comes to mind more easily that Wilshere..

  • Comment number 100.

    I shall be pleased when this is over and done with. I am happy to see him go, and given his contribution last year and his recurring injuries I think Arsenal getting £35m for him is very good business.

    Personally, I think Nasri will be the bigger loss but I'll be happy to see him go if he doesn't want to be there. Just shows how little loyalty or gratitude there is in football these days. You pick up a nobody, teach him how to play and suddenly he thinks he's too good for you.

    As an earlier poster has said, very few players have left Arsenal and even maintained their status let alone improved it. Indeed, in the 60 years I've followed them I can think of only two. Ashley Cole has maintained his status although certainly not improved it. The other was Ray ? who left us for Liverpool as a stiker and was turned into one of the best halfbacks of the era.

    It looks highly likely that our late season form last season will cost us our place in the champions league unless AW moves quickly in the market. With a diabolical refereeing decison against RVP against Barcelona keeping him out I think we shall struggle.

    I thought in the warm ups Rosicky looked as though he may have come back to life which would be a bonus but Arshavin seems unable to recapture his form of the first two years.

 

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