Barcelona have criticised the consistency of Cesc Fabregas' performances at the Camp Nou after the Spaniard's move to Chelsea was confirmed on Thursday.
The 27-year-old returned to Barcelona in 2011 having left the club's youth system for Arsenal in 2003. He is now set for a second spell in the Premier League following his move to Stamford Bridge, as confirmed by the West London club:
The Catalan giants posted a statement on their website after the news broke. While praising Fabregas, the piece included criticism of his late-season performances, per FourFourTwo magazine:
There has been a downward trend in his stats every season at the club. He slipped right back into the FCB [Football Club Barcelona] system as if he'd never been away. But despite glowing starts to each campaign, Cesc's contributions to the cause gradually decreased as each season drew to a close.
From being someone who joined in with the attack, supplying and scoring goals, the magic tended to fade later on in each season. He only scored one, six and one goals in the last 24 games of each season. For some reason, he was never as good in the second half of a season as in the first.
It seems an unnecessarily bitter note on which to send Fabregas on his way, especially after he performed very well for his boyhood club in the three years since his return.
Most recently, in the 2013-14 season, he scored eight goals and provided 13 assists as Barcelona finished second in La Liga, per WhoScored.com.
Squawka notes that his stats as a creator were bettered only by Real Madrid's Angel di Maria throughout the whole of Europe:
Only Angel di Maria registered more assists (17) last season than Cesc Fabregas (13) in Europe's top 5 leagues. pic.twitter.com/NXvpaQC5qN— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 12, 2014
His overall record of 42 goals in 151 matches for Barcelona is a pretty decent return for a midfielder, even if his scoring did drop off late on, per Rajvir Rai in the Daily Mail.
Rumours had been circulating for some time that Fabregas was on his way out of the Camp Nou, with Matt Law in The Telegraph reporting at the end of May that the player was available for £30 million, having been deemed surplus to requirements.
Spanish football writer Guillem Balague reported that the eventual deal was in fact slightly reduced in value to the initial sum reported by Law:
Even though Barcelona have not said it, the deal is 33 million euros plus variables.— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 12, 2014
Arsenal had first refusal on their former star but boss Arsene Wenger decided against bringing Fabregas back to the Emirates.
Are Chelsea and Fabregas a good fit?
Chelsea took the opportunity to sign him and seem to have pulled off a very good piece of business early on in the summer transfer window.
Fabregas will add proven quality to the Blues' already impressive midfield unit, and Chelsea should be a real threat both domestically and in Europe next season.
No doubt Fabregas will be inspired to prove his former employers wrong, which can only be a good thing for the Stamford Bridge outfit.