In the summer of 2011, which only 2 years ago, Arsenal lost one of their most popular players. At the time, he was the captain who had made over 300 appearances, scored 57 goals and made an impressive 100 assists – and he was only 24 years of age.
Cesc Fabregas was probably the biggest loss emotionally Arsenal have had for a long time. Players like Nasri, Adebayor and Van Persie have been and gone with hatred and resentment the main feelings, while Fabregas was a real icon at Arsenal. He came through the ranks, played alongside legends such as Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira and Gilberto, and was a massive part of our team. We’ve never had such a popular player leave at their peak, with players like Freddie, Bobby, Thierry, Dennis and Paddy leaving towards the end of their careers. So when Cesc left, it hurt. Badly.
I’ve bought every Arsenal home and away shirt since 1994. I’ve got a framed signed shirt from the 2005 FA Cup Winning Squad which is pride of place on the wall. Of all of the players I’ve seen since supporting Arsenal over 26 years, Cesc is one of the players I will always remember with great fondness.
He had fantastic vision, a great range of passing, could score some fantastic (and important) goals and most of all, he wore the shirt with pride. When he stepped onto the pitch with Arsenal, it mattered.
When he finally left, I remember watching compilations of him and getting teary. I’m not afraid to admit I got very emotional when Cesc moved on to Barcelona.
But now, there is a real possibility that Cesc could come back to Arsenal. Manchester United have placed a £25 million bid for the Spanish midfielder, but Arsenal have first refusal. So if we really wanted (and apparently we have the means to do so with our “war chest”) then we could beat United to the punch.
Arsenal rarely divulge their transfer targets but surely Manchester United’s £25 million bid would have alerted them and at least got Arsene Wenger thinking. How better to show the Arsenal fans that they were serious about turning things around and mounting a real challenge by having the return of the prodigal son?
So the big question is, would you welcome Cesc back to Arsenal?
I’ve already had a few messages on Twitter with people saying that they wouldn’t take him back because he’s not the same player he was but I would take him back in a heartbeat. A midfield of Cesc, Wilshere and Arteta, with Cazorla to boot? Yes please!
He left in 2011 for an initial fee of £25.6 million (which could end up being around £35 million depending on his success at Barcelona) so even if we got him for £30 million we wouldn’t have lost out too much. At the time, there was also a widely reported 50% sell on clause so depending on what Arsene is thinking, he may prefer to have half of any fee another club might pay for him.
Would Arsene Wenger consider taking him back? The relationship had always been more than amicable and even in Cesc’s first Barcelona press conference he told everyone how much he loved Arsenal and owed so much to Wenger.
And would Cesc consider coming back to Arsenal over moving to United? It’s clear that Manchester United are one of the teams that will be fighting for the title next season along with Manchester City and Chelsea.
Do we need to show our intent first by buying some top class players before Cesc would even think about moving back to Arsenal? Even though he loves Arsenal I’m sure if he was considering any move away from Barcelona one of the main issues would be how competitive the team is in terms of fighting for the major trophies.
So maybe he would need assurances that we were serious about bringing in some real quality this summer (remember, he’s seen this all when he was at Arsenal) before coming back to Arsenal.
A pipe dream? Perhaps, but I’ve seen stranger things happen!
So would you have Cesc back? Cast your vote below: