Could the Fabregas era at Barcelona be ending so soon?
When Cesc Fabregas finally completed his dream return-transfer to Barcelona last August, it ended months of speculation about where he would end up.
While Barcelona was always considered the front-runner, and preferred, destination for Fabregas, he was heavily linked to a few different clubs.
At the time, it seemed that a move to Italy was in the cards, as Italian clubs Inter and Milan were ready to add some fire to their city rivalry with a duel over the talented midfielder. All the while, Arsenal and Fabregas never completely ruled out staying with the club.
In the end, Fabregas couldn't fight his heart any longer and made his way back to his boyhood club, and all seemed right with the world.
Rumors have been persisting that Fabregas is unhappy with the Catalan club and both parties might be interested in parting company.
Whether or not the two parties are indeed talking about a split, that result may be the best resolution for everyone for four reasons.
We all know Cesc Fabregas does not want to leave Barcelona.
Still, it might be in his best interest to leave the club either in January or when the summer transfer market opens.
We know clubs are still interested in him, and some may be willing to take a loan deal. Among the teams interested in taking on Fabregas, loan transfer or otherwise, would be Milan. Milan were heavily interested in Fabregas when he was considering leaving Arsenal before joining Barcelona.
Like it or not, that's not a bad option for Fabregas to consider. For Fabregas, a move to Italy would get him the first-team football he both desires and deserves.
At Milan, he would insert himself immediately into the starting XI at midfield. The Rossoneri don't run a 4-3-3 but they do employ similar midfield tactics in their system. Nigel de Jong and Massimo Ambrosini take the roles of holding midfield. Riccardo Montolivo and Kevin-Prince Boateng play in front of them in a more attacking role.
Fabregas would thrive for Milan alongside either Montolivo or Boateng, and he would not be given the responsibility of holding up the midfield.
Who knows, he might even enjoy his team in Italy and look to make the move permanent. That's doubtful, considering his repeated claims that he'd like to retire at Barcelona, but it's an interesting idea.
Regardless of his destination, it seems like moving on from Barcelona is the right career move for Cesc Fabregas. Unless they are going to give him a starter's role, Fabregas's future lies elsewhere.
At Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas was the catalyst of the Gunner attack. Robin van Persie was the man who scored all the goals, but it was Fabregas who played the role of engineer.
It was this role that convinced Barcelona that they had found their missing puzzle piece in the former Arsenal captain.
The problem with the transfer was that they already had players like Fabregas. Players better than Fabregas, actually. Xavi and Iniesta currently set up in the midfield in Barcelona's preferred 4-3-3 system.
The idea behind bringing in Fabregas may have been to groom him as a possible successor to those two.
But Fabregas will be entering his prime before he gets the chance to show he can take over. I don't think 25 should be considered old age. However, it is worrisome to consider that, unless Xavi or Iniesta experience a major injury or severe dip in form, Fabregas will continue to bide his time on the bench.
Realistically, the grueling schedules and intense competition will force either of Barcelona's two main playmakers into a reduced role, but neither currently show signs of slowing down.
Even if Barcelona is willing to wait on Fabregas, or play him more as the other two age, is Fabregas willing to wait?
He has gone on record as not being happy with his current role as a substitute. This could lead to Cesc, despite showing no signs of wanting to leave, forcing Barcelona's hand into either playing him or letting him leave.
We can all sympathize with Fabregas's situation. We've all been there. We've all dreamed of pulling the shirt of our favorite team over our heads and stepping onto the field in front of thousands of screaming fans.
It'd truly be a dream come true. It was a dream come true for Cesc Fabregas.
Why, then, do we continue to hear rumors of dissent and unhappiness coming from those "close" to the situation? The simple answer is that he's angry with his role at the club.
A more complex answer could be that Fabregas was deceived by himself and by this dream he had as a little boy of playing at Barcelona.
Seeing limited playing options as a youth at Barcelona, Fabregas put the dream on hold to move to England and play for Arsenal.
A couple years later, Fabregas had finally done it. They wanted him back.
The legalities of it all put a slight hamper on the situation being finalized, but it was known all along where Cesc wanted to be.
Like most dreams, however, they are not always as you make them out to be.
Has Cesc's dream become a nightmare?
For all the talk of happiness or unhappiness that has persisted with Cesc Fabregas, only one thing is certain to me: Cesc doesn't know how to stop the distractions.
While at Arsenal, he appeased both sides and remained coy about his situation. He never outright admitted that he wanted to leave the Emirates, but he never denied it either.
Like an experienced politician, he knew exactly what to say. He would admit that returning to Barcelona was always a dream but he was still very happy at Arsenal and he did not want to leave.
This kind of attitude will eventually reach a boiling point with the fans and the club. If you don't want to commit yourself heart and soul to a club, then you're best fitted to leave.
We know he wants to play. We all would want to play rather than sit on the bench, but it's time to stop letting it become a distraction.
He either wants to stay or he doesn't. He either will take being a substitute, for now, or he won't. Those are simple yes or no questions. There's no in-between answer for Cesc this time.