The news broke yesterday that talented Dutch midfielder Ibrahim Afellay will be joining FC Barcelona for the tiny sum of €3 million. Will this finally put Barcelona’s interest in Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas to bed?
Barcelona have quite a small squad, but considering they often employ a midfield light on numbers, Afellay’s signing will mean they are very well equipped, quantitatively, in that area.
Afellay is comfortable on the wings and in central midfield. Fabregas very rarely plays on the wings, so him and Afellay have no connection there, but the prominence of straight forward midfielders indicates Fabregas, or anyone like him, is far from a necessity in the Nou Camp.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Seydou Keita, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano are all capable of playing the central midfield position that Fabregas likes, although obviously, they’re all very different players with different emphasises on attack and defence.
Looking at the list of players, the one position in which Barcelona are lacking in is centre forward. They have David Villa, and Zlatan Ibrahimović is on loan, but if they were to strengthen an area of the pitch in the summer, it would probably be there.
Signing Fabregas now would be an extravagance for Barcelona, not something that they are showing they are capable of. Afellay was signed for just €3 million, which is a fantastic deal by Barcelona, one they should be applauded for. Perhaps PSV Eindhoven forgot how to negotiate? But there is absolutely no way that Barcelona could do that to Arsenal, even if Fabregas put in a transfer request, and that seems unlikely; he would cost at least 15 times that amount.
Need I ask, will Fabregas still be a Gooner next season?
The other thing to look at is Barcelona’s debt. They are nearly half a billion Euros in debt, and if they continue to lose money in the way they did last season, to the tune of 77 million Euros, the figure will grow and grow. Simply put, not only will the team not require Fabregas, even if it did, they won’t be able to afford him.
Another factor that should also not be ignored is Arsenal’s improvement this season. They should finally end their trophy hunt with the Carling Cup, and with no team emerging as a dominant force in the Premier League, they have as good a chance as anyone to win it.
Despite all this, we can be sure that won’t stop the rumour mill from rolling out more bored rumours come the summer.