The signing of Cesc Fabregas surprised many English football fans. After growing up at Arsenal and later going on to captain the side, we’re sure most were shocked that the Spain international midfielder decided to move on to Chelsea. That’s just what he did and our Arsenal correspondent James Turnbull shares his views on the whole saga.
Arsene Wenger truly has one of the most impressive track records in world football when it comes to finding and signing the best talent. Even when Wenger had responsibility for the transfer dealings of French giants Monaco, he unearthed one of the best talents from African football; George Weah. Weah later went on to join AC Milan and win the World Player of the Year award, even to this day the Liberian merits Arsene Wenger as one of the main reasons for his rise to prominence.
Aged 16, Arsenal plucked Cesc Fabregas from the relative obscurity of Barcelona’s youth side. Two years later – and I fondly remember his first game for the club and also his first goal – Fabregas would earn his debut for the Gunners. Just three years later Fabregas would captain the Gunners’ side. Then who could blame the Spaniard when he decided to up and leave and return home. He’d done his bit for Arsenal and had won very little silverware.
Arsenal fans have been watching Fabregas’ progress closely since his return to the Nou Camp, almost begrudgingly, we felt only a little happy for him as he won multiple titles in his first two seasons at the club. I then heard a rumour back in May this year that Cesc wanted a swift return to England. Surely, we’d be in the race for him… even if we had Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey in our ranks. Unfortunately we were not, but I understood the reasons why; we already have quality. However, what happened next will haunt me for many years; the moment I checked Twitter and saw that my feed was full of references of a completed transfer to Chelsea. Then a quick peek at Fabregas’ Twitter account, and there it was and all confirmed – a picture of Cesc, our captain and idol for many seasons – wearing a Chelsea shirt.
I read the interviews with Cesc and I have tried to come to terms with the fact he’s a Chelsea player. I really still haven’t begun to understand why he chose to move to Stamford Bridge. I’d read in the past that Fabregas once quipped: “I’ll never play for another Premier League club.” I saw Cesc as a man of honour and with a true understanding about what it meant to be a Gunner. Seemingly, he’d forgotten his roots and just how much Arsenal had done for him and could not resist joining one of our most bitter rivals.
So in answer to the question, does it make him a traitor? It certainly does. Over the years, very few players from abroad have come through and show signs of the dedication, respect and understanding of what it is to be a loyal English football supporter. Cesc’s words always filled me with pride, he seemed to have some of that very spirit that only a true fan could possibly have.
Am I surprised that he took that route? No, to be completely honest, I am not surprised. Arsene Wenger has plenty of talent in that area of the park, but when it comes to having a first option on a player of Fabregas’ calibre, Arsenal need to take every chance we can get to bring in such quality. The only thing of note that I could agree with from Cesc’s interview was his quote, “I have unfinished business in England.” I’m sure most will agree with that statement.
Jose Mourinho has acquired a gem of a midfielder. Do I think that he might be the missing link in Chelsea’s side? Quite possibly. What Chelsea have lacked for a long time – apart from a striker who can scores goals week in, week out, of course – is a midfield fighter, that’s what Cesc is. He also adds unparalleled creativity to the heart of the Blues’ midfield. The price that has been quoted appears to be an absolute steal.
So next season, when I’m watching Chelsea visit the Emirates, how do I expect most Arsenal fans will react? Probably the same as I; furious that our former captain has betrayed the club where he grew up.