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Cesc Fabregas: Why Signing with Barcelona Would Be a Huge Mistake

Phil ConstableCorrespondent IJune 22, 2011

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 12:  Pepe Reina and Carles Puyol of Spanish national football team put on a shirt of FC Barcelona to Cesc Fabregas during the Spanish team's victory parade following their victory over the Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup on July 12, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Angel Martinez/Getty Images

After spending year after year predictably undertaking in Arsenal FC's annual crash out of Europe and inevitable second-half collapses in the Premier League, you could understand Cesc Fabregas giving in to the nostalgic urge to return to Catalonia in chase of footballing parity yet yearly gratification that he's only previously experienced at international level with those very faces that tempt him back to his homeland.

Arsene Wenger's has always stood by his philosophical, footballing beliefs that you can be successful with developing young players and preaching a style of the game that requires superior technical skill. 

While Wenger's ideology may be admirable, in the cut-throat, results-driven business that is modern, professional football, many Arsenal fans—and possibly the players and hierarchy—are no longer content with 'winning' purely on an artistic level.

Wenger has often criticised other sides, Stoke City in particular, for their uber-physical, ultra-aggressive play—going as far as comparing their displays as "rugby." However, when this grotesque, footballing monstrosity not only beat but humiliated the artistic impressionists towards the end of last season: Who was really winning?

All of these factors may indicate this was more of an open letter to Fabregas urging the Spaniard to leave Wenger and his deluded, outdated beliefs back in north London in search of appeasement in his native Barcelona, but in fact it's the opposite: Fabregas should stay at Arsenal.

Firstly, Barcelona themselves have made it clear they aren't desperate to regain their former youth team prospect. It's not a case of Barcelona not wanting Fabregas but the best team in Europe have placed the midfielder way down on their list of transfer priorities behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Giuseppe Rossi.

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There's a clear reason for this: Neither of those players are worth more than Fabregas, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'll tell you either are better players than Fabregas, but Barcelona are more occupied in chasing such players because Fabregas would be no more than a vulgar indulgence, a £35m bench-warmer.

The midfield trio of Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta was the footballing hub that guided both Spain and Barca to recent successes.

Fabregas, used solely as a sub in international competition, would receive similar treatment under Pep Guardiola and would soon regret the decision to turn his back on Arsenal.

Yes, Fabregas would find an inner sentimentality in putting on the blue and carmine shirt for the first time since he was a teenager (or when it was forced over his head after the World Cup if you're being pedantic), and yes he'd be infinitely more likely to be gratified by picking up silverware on a regular basis, but would it be the same?

For me winning future league and cup titles with Barca may look better on paper at the end of a career, and in the trophy cabinet at your million-pound mansion. But will sitting on the bench, cheering on his teammates and picking up his winners' medals in his tracksuit after spending 90 minutes playing the role of the world's most expensive cheerleader resonate with the same feeling of gratification and accomplishment that he'd evoke in winning even one major title with Arsenal?

The lure of Barcelona is one that is no doubt a temptation almost all footballers would succumb to, yet alone someone who holds such emotional ties with the club. However, at Barcelona Fabregas will go down as just another member of the plethora of men who came, saw and conquered Spanish and European football, but did so in the least prominent of roles: someone whose face is embedded in the celebratory huddle, not the icon enshrined in club folk-law as one of the driving forces in creating the such moments.

Think about it: In a decade's time. when retrospectively remembering this year's Champions League triumph through rose-tinted spectacles, who's going to reference the Seydou Keitas and Thiago Alcantaras of the campaign? No one, and rightfully so.

Fabregas is still, incredibly, only 24-years-old, yet has more than 200 appearances for the Gunners already. If he, as captain and talisman, could lead Arsenal back to the towering heights of a previous generation, he'd be the hero, the one fathers blissfully recount the careers of to their children, who never got the chance to see play.

If Fabregas deserts Arsenal for Barcelona, he'll forever be remembered as a single piece in the grand puzzle of glory achieved as long as the axis of brilliance that currently resides in the centre of the Nou Camp pitch remains. However if he digs in, pleads with Arsene Wenger for financial investment in his supporting cast and leads Arsenal back to the promised land, he'll go down as one of the great midfielders of his generation.    

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