Barcelona have just landed Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal after three years of wheeling, dealing and pleading with the Gunners. But don't expect the 24-year-old midfielder to have an Earth-shattering impact on the Catalan juggernauts going forward.
Barca have been furiously chasing Fabregas for several seasons now, and their hard work and diligence has paid major dividends this week, according to a Mirror Football report.
The 24-year-old midfielder was thrilled to be returning to his boyhood club, telling reporters this was the day he'd been hoping for.
Per his statements:
"For me it's a special day. I'm returning home. I know that the Arsenal fans will be disappointed with my exit from the club, but I'm here to face an incredible challenge, the challenge of my life."
But while Fabregas in thrilled to be at Barca, don't think for a second that the talented midfielder makes the defending European champions any better.
Sure, his talents will be a welcome addition at the Nou Camp, and his goal-scoring skills figure to give the Catalan juggernauts the offensive threats they've been craving in the middle.
But given the talent already on the roster, does Fabregas really make this team better?
Their central midfield is virtually set in stone, courtesy of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. While Fabregas still slides perfectly into Barca's third midfield spot alongside the dynamic duo, there were other supremely talented midfielders capable of stepping in and filling the void.
Twenty-year-old phenom Thiago Alcantara has star potential oozing out of every move he makes on the pitch, and many see him as a better prospect than Fabregas was at that stage of his career. He hasn't shown the nose for goal that Fabregas has, but with more time in the starting XI, there's a good chance that changes.
The fact of the matter is that Fabregas wasn't a necessary purchase. The Catalan club already had the most talented midfield on the planet, and would have been the heavy favorites in La Liga and the Champions League without the 24-year-old former Gunner.
Why would you go and get another talented midfielder when you've got two of the best on the planet, and a third player who remains one of the most promising young talents in the sport in Alcantara? It's not a move that needed to be made by the Spanish club, and Fabregas isn't a huge improvement over the 20-year-old playmaker.
Sure, he gives manager Pep Guardiola depth, but you don't spend £35 million just to make your team deeper (unless you're Manchester City). If you're going to drop that kind of cash, you do it to fill a major need, or to get a player who is sure to improve your roster.
While Fabregas is talented, he doesn't do that for Barcelona. He's little more than another midfielder, another cog in the machine that is Barca's offense. He's not the game-changer he would have been for Arsenal, and with Alcantara on the roster, he's not even the heir apparent to Xavi or Iniesta.
I'm not saying Fabregas is a bad fit at Barca; he knows most of the club and is friends with most of their stars, and is a good fit in their system. He won't struggle at Barca as long as he gets playing time, and he's capable of delivering the kind of fantastic showings that made him a star at Arsenal.
But he doesn't make the European champions all that much better, and for £35 million, a player has to improve your roster in a noticeable way. For all Fabregas' gifts, he's not a marked improvement over the players Barca already had on the roster.
He's not a bad player, and he figures to thrive amongst his friends at the Nou Camp. But if you're expecting Fabregas to make Barcelona infinitely better, prepare to be disappointed. With all the talent already on the Spanish giants' roster, Fabregas will be little more than another midfielder amongst the stars at the Nou Camp.