Everybody needs a little love.
Prior to Manchester United’s bid to land Cesc Fabregas, the Barcelona midfielder may have been feeling out of favour at the Camp Nou. Although a natural fit at the La Liga outfit, the arrival of Neymar and continued brilliance of the Xavi/Andres Iniesta combination suggested he may struggle to receive much of a chance in the Catalan club’s starting line-up.
Then three key events took place.
First of all, Thiago Alcantara’s decision to leave Barcelona amplified Fabregas’ importance to the team across the coming years. While best in an attacking role, the former Arsenal player is versatile and able to slot in anywhere across the midfield and forward lines. He is a comfortable dribbler, accurate passer and deadly finisher in front of goal, just like the aforementioned duo who have come to define an era of Barcelona success.
Secondly, Gerardo Martino’s appointment as La Blaugrana coach has given Fabregas a new opportunity to stake his claim. Although Fabregas performed admirably during Tito Vilanova’s spell as manager, the former boss’ willingness to hunt talents such as Neymar will have had Fabregas worried.
These are not similar players, but in a squad like Barca’s, the likes of Fabregas and the Brazilian wonderkid are likely to step into each other’s positional territory.
With extra responsibility and new reason to impress underlined, Fabregas’ Barcelona career was finally revitalised with David Moyes’ decision to try and sign the player for Manchester United. As reported by Sky Sports, the Old Trafford boss has lodged two bids for the former Premier League star.
Barcelona have confirmed they will reject all bids for the player, as revealed by Sky Sports. In the process, Fabregas has received a flurry of compliments from Barcelona's string-pullers, highlighting his increasing importance in the quickly changing squad.
Vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu, as quoted by BBC Sport, signalled the club's thoughts on the player:
United's interest for Cesc Fabregas is obvious, he's a great player but it does not bother us. It does not matter what they offer us, we are not selling him.
If there was a higher offer would we accept it? No. We're proud that a club like that wants one of our players.
Such occurrences, alongside the aforementioned series of events, have seen Fabregas' Barcelona career look brighter than ever. The player has already pinpointed his quality in a La Liga season that is one week old, demonstrating his array of skills in the 7-0 thrashing of Levante.
Taking up a position to the left of Sergio Busquets and behind Iniesta, Fabregas burst into life for his new coach. His two assists in the opening day thrashing suggested Martino has a reborn player on his hands. Barcelona have shown Fabregas love, and he has responded.
Encouragingly, there is still room for the 26-year-old to improve at the Camp Nou. His pass accuracy, while at a decent 82.6 percent, is lower than many of his teammates, as recorded by Whoscored.com. Although this statistic is only taken after one game, it fits in with the assertion that Fabregas needs to work hard in order to play the Barca way.
Much like Neymar, who continues to fulfil simple duties before showing skill, Fabregas is the type of player who must prioritise basic tasks before setting the world alight. His recent performances have indicated that, two years after moving from Arsenal, he is finally ready to do this on a consistent basis.
With Fabregas seemingly receiving love from across Europe, the increased faith in his ability can only mean good things for a Barcelona side that is ready to dominate the continent once more.