Watching Barca getting outfought and outrun by Bayern tonight, made me think again about Cesc’ decision to leave us for his boyhood team a couple of seasons ago. I wrote at the time that I could fully understand his decision but that I felt he was leaving too soon.
Not only did he leave too soon as he still had unfinished business at Arsenal, but also because Barcelona did not need him yet, and definitely did not love him as much as we did. The Catalan team was at its very peak and no matter how good he was, he would not dislodge the likes of Iniesta or Xavi any time soon.
At Arsenal he was captain and a whole team was built around him so we could get the full value out of his incredible talent. For a player who yet had to hit the very peak of his career this was an incredible offering by the club, and especially the manager.
I wrote a post with a similar title as above for another blog about a year ago. I had just witnessed Pirlo conducting Italy towards a well-deserved and stylish win over the Germans in the Euros, and I felt – and still feel – that Fabregas is one of the very few players who can play like the Italian maestro.
My point was back then, and is still now, that Fabregas is not used properly by Barcelona, both in terms of being on the bench too much and not playing in the right position(s) when he is being played.
Fabregas should be conducting a team right now: be the very pivot and leader of it.
Not seeing him play and just warming the bench made me sad once again, and I wonder how he felt today; watching his team being brushed aside by eleven rampant Germans. It is clear to me that the Barca team as well as Fabregas are missing Guardiola more and more, and the performance today is ample evidence that a team – how ever good and long together – cannot manage itself. Guardiola, his boyhood hero, must have been one of the reasons he was so keen to join Barcelona in 2011, but he left only twelve months later, and things have not improved for our former captain since then at all.
A country song I sometimes listen to has a line in it that I often quote when I am discussing career moves with friends or colleagues: ‘The secret of a long life is knowing when it is time to go’. I love that line and it is so true; but I like to change it a bit to: ‘The secret of a successful and enjoyable career is knowing when it is time to go’.
In my view, Cesc made the wrong choice: he went too early.
Barca did not really love him or need him; they just wanted to have him, because they could and it was a ‘generous gesture’ by the chairman to lure him ‘back home’.
Would he have stayed at Arsenal for the last two years and further improve his conductor, assists and goal scoring skills, and maybe even have won one or two pieces of silverware with either Song and van Judas, or Cazorla, Podolski and Wilshere; he would now have been a very wanted and NEEDED commodity for Barcelona.
They would have bought him this or next summer with the very idea of making him a pivotal player in the team; and he would have arrived as a hero in waiting, and not just as a ‘nice to have’ as he did two summers ago.
It is difficult to say what will happen next for Fabregas; I guess it all depends on who will be manager next season, and whether he will get a chance to play in either Iniesta’s or Xavi’s positions. But if I was him I would not count on it, and in the meantime he is at least partly wasting some of the most precious years of his football career.
I would love him back at Arsenal but I cannot see that ever happening; that ship has, very unfortunately, sailed my friends.
I know that some fellow Gooners will take joy in Fabregas’ current predicament but I am not one of them. Very few players have given me as much joy in watching them play for us as Fabregas, and I know he still really loves Arsenal, but just could not fight his growing homesickness anymore.
I hope he will soon be cooking with gas again, wherever that may be (but not for another PL team!!).
Written by: TotalArsenal (still not over the loss of El Capitan!).