Fabregas stays - for now - as Arsenal hold firm
Man honours recently signed and very lucrative employment contract - it's hardly man bites dog in the turn-up-for-the-books stakes, is it?
But news that Cesc Fabregas has decided to stay at Arsenal for a wee bit longer is significant, and not just because it is going to leave a large hole in the sports pages of many English (and Catalan) newspapers.
One in the eye for player power? English piracy? Premier League 1-0 La Liga?
Yeah, maybe. But it's also a story about money. Or more precisely, one company not having quite enough money to persuade another company that it can buy something better than it already owns.
Forget all the chat from Barca players and directors about letting Fabregas go home so he can play with his mates (this is professional football, not a Sunday pub league) and ignore "crisis talks" reports from unnamed "sources", the only thing that matters is Barcelona cannot afford Arsenal's valuation of their most important playing asset.
I discussed the background to this saga in a blog a couple of months ago, so I won't repeat myself in great detail here. The main point is Barca aren't as minted as they pretend to be, while Arsenal are cash rich (relatively speaking) and player poor (again, relatively speaking).
There really is no desire on the part of the Londoners to cash in on a player they picked up from Barca's football factory for peanuts, even if they have already enjoyed seven years of excellent service.
Not that "cashing in" was on offer, not when we are talking about a 23-year-old maestro, with a World Cup winners' medal and considerable Champions League experience, who also happens to be club captain at the Emirates.
No, Barca's best offer (a reported £34m) was a "mate's rate" for taking an unsettled player off Arsenal's hands - and the La Liga giants still owe the Gunners money for Thierry Henry and Alexander Hleb.
But just how unsettled is Fabregas anyway? After all, he signed a six-year contract last year and is one of the most popular players in the league.
And if he is unsettled, who is to blame for that?
I suppose you could argue that five trophy-less seasons were starting to grate (and last season's Champions League chastening at Barca's hands cannot have helped) but he has won things at Arsenal before and they are not without prospects this season.
But the starting point for this story came, as it so often does with these summer blockbusters, with this year's election for a new Barca president.
There is plenty to admire in the supporter-ownership model of Barca, Real Madrid and a few of the other Spanish clubs but there is a downside to all that democracy - the need for candidates to make big promises during election campaigns. This nearly always boils down to one thing: signings.
Repatriating Fabregas, the gem who got away, was perhaps the one thing all the candidates seeking to replace Joan Laporta as top man agreed on. Anybody following what became a pretty tasty contest from afar would have been forgiven for thinking the Spain midfielder would be delivered to the winner almost as soon as the votes were counted.
As it turned out, the big victor in Barcelona was former Laporta-lieutenant-turned-arch-critic Sandro Rosell, and the significance of his triumph would soon become clear.
Barca, it seems, were not the debt-free, fantasy-football generator they had led the world to believe. They were, in fact, like almost every other team in Europe: living on the margin of their means and feeling the same chill wind as the rest.
Within weeks, Rosell, who for months had been criticising the Laporta regime for spending too much on players and not enough on infrastructure, announced Barca needed a £130m loan to meet its immediate outgoings.
All further talk of buying Fabregas should have ceased at this point. Having already picked up Spanish superstar David Villa for £33m, Barca should have withdrawn from the market well pleased with their summer trading.
I think this is what Rosell and manager Pep Guardiola would have been happy to do but others connected to the club in one form or another could not resist continuing with their "let Cesc go" campaign.
Thankfully for Arsenal, there was one other very significant player in this piece, someone who would not be emotionally blackmailed into making a bad decision: Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners manager has served his club well, just as he did when he resisted the approaches of Juventus for Patrick Vieira and Barca's (it's a well-worn path) for Henry. In both cases, he got at least another year out of these two players before getting a fair price for them just as their form started to dip.
OK, he hasn't got every single transfer decision right (what manager has?) but Le Boss does know how to survive a summer storm.
His working relationship with Fabregas has been one of the key partnerships at the club for years and I always got the impression the player would do everything he could to press for a move home, as long as it did not mean disappointing Wenger.
And that is ultimately the step Fabregas was unwilling to take. Not this season, anyway.
We probably will never know what the two men spoke about before Thursday's pre-season event for fans at the Emirates but I have a feeling in went something along the lines of "give us another chance, Cesc, surely we deserve that?"
And Fabregas, being a decent chap (and very well paid and well liked and under contract), could only say, "OK, gaffer, let's give it try."
So let's hear no more talk of "homesick Fab eyeing Emirates exit". Not until 1 September, when the transfer window shuts, anyway.