It has been THE transfer saga of the summer 2010, FC Barcelona’s relentless chase of Cesc Fabregas. Ever since 2003, when young Cesc left the Blaugrana for greener pastures and the promise of first team football, he has become to be known as “the one that got away”.
It’s hard to argue or even blame Fabregas for his decision to jump ship and join Arsenal. After all they (with Manchester United) were the team(s) to beat in the English Top Flight. As English Football rose to dominate Europe, the prospect of playing for one of the best teams around must’ve been very enchanting. But wait--he was already situated in one of Europe’s finest teams: FC Barcelona.
First Team Football
At the time of his “transfer” to Arsenal he was 16. So how much first team football can a 16-year-old expect or even demand? Sure, Xavi was/is in the line-up and so were a couple of others but is that a valid reason to move? Had he that little confidence in his ability? His former (youth) teammate, a little Argentine who goes by the name of Lionel Messi showed more patience and willingness to work or better yet force his way into the first team--and Messi is not even Catalan.
The point is, if Cesc only concern back then was the prospect of regular playing time--why didn’t he show the same patience and endurance as Lionel Messi? He still could’ve moved by the age of 19 or 20.
The Second Coming Of The Dream Team
Fast forward seven years, four La Ligas, two Champions Leagues, one Copa Del Rey, one Club World Cup (and some Supercups) titles later. The trophy case of his former teammate Messi (and to a lesser extent Gerard Pique’s) is stacked whereas Cesc only trophy won on club level is the 2005 FA Cup.
Now all of a sudden Cesc “would” join FC Barcelona, provided the Gunners and the Blaugrana reach an agreement which as it stands doesn’t look very likely.
When he left La Masia to become a Gooner things looked vastly different. The Blaugrana didn’t win a title in years, the 1st Galactico era was still in full swing and a young and ambitious lawyer had just been made the President of FC Barcelona.
It tells a lot about his personality when he wants to join his former club NOW, after the Blaugranas ascension back to the top of the game and Arsenal's inability to win silverware. It is obvious Cesc fears of missing out on being part of FC Barcelona’s (presumably) new golden era.
La Masia Graduates
Let’s take a look at current generation of La Masia prospects who are about the same age as Cesc when he left. Right now there are 2 supremely talented youngsters who, if reports are to be believed, have been tracked by some of the biggest clubs in Europe for a while – Thiago Alcantara and Jonathan dos Santos .
Both could’ve and actually still can leave FC Barcelona without the fear of finding a new club. It is more true for Thiago than Jonathan but still, it is a safe bet that the both of them would find new clubs rather sooner than later.
Unlike Fabregas they have decided to stay in Catalonia and earn their place in the first team. Whether they will succeed or not, that’s entirely different matter.
THEY and not Fabregas should be the center of attention, at least for Pep Guardiola. It’s THEIR first and foremost right to challenge for a place in the starting eleven not Cesc’s.
Maybe Fabregas feels like he can come “home” at any time but he should be reminded that nobody forced him out of Barcelona and nobody forced him to sign a long-term contract with Arsenal. Gooners have a right to be angry at FC Barcelona but so should every Culé.
La Masia is the jewel of FC Barcelona and therefore every Barca supporter should advocate the promotion of Thiago Alcantara and Jonathan dos Santos. Because those two have been nothing but loyal to FC Barcelona. Instead of going the Cesc Fabregas route--which is leaving, they chose to fight and earn their place even when Xavi AND Iniesta are still around. Such display of loyalty should be rewarded and not punished by buying (hell, Cesc was a La Masia kid) Fabregas and thus restricting their chances.
Note: Please don’t mention Gerard Pique, sure he left too but he came back after FC Barcelona endured one of the most horrible and humiliating seasons in a quite a while. Pique showed his eagerness to come back home after a disastrous season, not after the club won a plethora of trophies.
*special thanks to Jonathan S. aka Master Yoda*