After being continually criticised by his own fans throughout the Spanish season, Simon Jones of The Daily Mail has speculated that both the Gunners and Manchester United could be considering a move to bring Fabregas back to British shores.
The whistles of derision that greet Cesc Fabregas's every touch at Barcelona are being noted at Manchester United and Arsenal.
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino and club directors have launched a staunch defence of the 26-year-old who has been targeted by fans throughout the season and more so in recent weeks following their team's Champions League exit followed and defeat to Real Madrid in the King's Cup.
Teammate Andres Iniesta said: 'Of course it hurts to see Cesc jeered. You try to ignore it and hope it does not happen, but these situations are not comfortable.’
For Arsenal fans, this is exciting news. Fabregas wasn’t just another Arsenal player.
He was a hero, beloved on the terraces and among the staff. He arrived at London Colney aged 15, and it was with Arsenal that he grew from a precocious boy to one of the world’s best midfielders. His departure was protracted and painful, but many supporters understood his frustrations. His return would be analogous with that of the prodigal son: All past problems would be forgiven.
However, we’ve been here before. Last summer, Fabregas was linked extensively with a move away from Barcelona, with United reportedly at the head of the queue. However, he never had any desire to leave.
Speaking to the BBC in February, Fabregas confirmed:
I do follow the Premier League a lot and it's always flattering when a club like Manchester United talks very well about you and you can see they want you.
But I'm going through an amazing moment [at Barcelona] now. This season I have felt more like myself, with more freedom and more secure with the way I like to play. It's not easy when you know you have to convince many fans how good you are and how good you can be for the team.
Those are not the words of a man who feels he is being forced out of the Nou Camp door.
Fabregas is a Barcelona fan. In playing in red and blue, he is fulfilling a childhood dream. His lifetime goal is to become a Barcelona legend. It would take an extraordinary set of circumstances for him to sacrifice that ambition.
There’s also Barcelona’s transfer ban to consider. The Catalan club has been given a 14-month ban from incoming transfers after breaking rules on signing players under the age of 18.
Although Barcelona intend to appeal the sanction, there is no guarantee it will be overturned. If Barca can not acquire new players, it’s unthinkable that they could allow someone as gifted as Fabregas to leave.
Xavi will be 35 next season, and Fabregas is his heir apparent. He knows that if he can establish himself in the Barca side next season, he could be their playmaker for at least half a decade.
Arsenal fans will continue to dream of Cesc Fabregas’ return. However, for now, it remains merely that, a dream.
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