Fabregas to Arsenal or Chelsea? Or Is He Just Toying with Barcelona Again?

John CrossSpecial to Bleacher ReportJune 4, 2014

LAS ROZAS DE MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 26:    Cesc Fabregas of Spain juggles the ball during a training sesion at Ciudad del Futbol on May 26, 2014 in Las Rozas de Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

The summer is here, so it must be time for another Cesc Fabregas saga.

Last year, it was all about the Barcelona midfielder potentially joining Manchester United.

This time, it looks a little less clear-cut, as it appears he is being hawked around the Premier League for around £30 million.

If you actually rewind a few years, Arsenal fans will remember the annual transfer battle with Barcelona, as they tried to sign him each and every year.

Having worked so hard to get him, it's hard to believe that Barcelona are so willing to sell Fabregas this summer.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 03:  Cesc Fabregas of FC Barcelona shows his dejection during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Nou Camp on May 3, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

But the fact is the dream move, the homecoming, the return of the prodigal son, just hasn't worked out as planned.

Fabregas was supposed to spend the rest of his career at the Nou Camp, perhaps be the central part of their team, seamlessly blending the current midfield of Xavi and Andres Iniesta into the next generation.

Basically, Fabregas was supposed to be Barcelona's midfield kingpin for the next 10 years, and yet it hasn't been a happy marriage for a few different reasons.

Where does he fit in? He's not really been the central part. For a player with Barcelona DNA in his make-up, the fans don't hero-worship him in the way they do with others.

Fabregas is a world-class player but hasn't shone in the way he had hoped. Now, it looks as if Barcelona seem intent on breaking up this team and sacrificing a big name to spend on new players.

If that is to be Fabregas, then surely there will be no shortage of takers, particularly from the Premier League. Clubs will remember his time at Arsenal and will know what he can do.

But it's hard to work out right now what is the perfect fit for Fabregas. Manchester City and United have both distanced themselves from moves for Fabregas.

Now, Chelsea have entered the fray—perhaps though only as a consolation prize if they cannot get Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who is wanted by Barcelona.

The other interesting aspect is that Arsenal—thanks to a very clever bit of wheeler-dealing when they sold him—have got first refusal on Fabregas after inserting a clause when they sold him three years ago.

I can only assume that Barcelona agreed to the clause at the time because they thought—like we all did—that Fabregas would stay for life. There would be no chance of him going back.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 08:  Cesc Fabregas of FC Barcelona answers questions from the media during a press conference the day before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-final second leg between Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium o
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Arsenal get first refusal, so Barcelona must inform them if they accept an offer. They can get him at a fixed price. If they don't take up the option, then they get a large slice of profit on any deal which takes him elsewhere.

It really is a great deal for Arsenal. It also looks to be a no-brainer for Arsenal—it's a great deal even if they don't particularly need him. After all, they already have Mesut Ozil. What they need now is a holding midfielder.

Mind you, Mikel Arteta has done that role, and he's not a midfield anchorman in the traditional sense.

There is a sense of suspicion in some quarters that, rather like last summer, Barcelona may not ultimately want to sell him, and Fabregas is trying to use the saga to strengthen his hand.

But if he goes, where is his most likely destination? I'd say at the moment Chelsea because from what I gather, he'd prefer London to Manchester even if City or United resurrect their interest.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - MAY 29:  Cesc Fabregas of Spain shoots towards goal during a training session ahead of their international friendly match against Bolivia at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on May 29, 2014 in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty
David Ramos/Getty Images

Would Arsenal fans forgive their former captain if he went to Chelsea? That's a tricky one. It's also a reason why it's conveniently being drip-fed that Arsenal don't want him back.

I'm not convinced that's right. But I think Arsenal would only act if the clause came into play. So let's see whether Fabregas is indeed sold. If he is, then Arsenal may well go for it.

But maybe, just maybe, Fabregas has enjoyed so many transfer sagas down the years that this summer wouldn't be summer unless there was some uncertainty over his future.