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Cesc Fabregas transfer: Arsene Wenger's lies and Barcelona's arrogance

17 Aug 2011 07:39:39

Cesc Fabregas transfer: Arsene Wenger's lies and Barcelona's arrogance

When a captain forces the club at which he made his name to accept a derisory transfer fee and facilitate a move, it should provoke a raft of emotions directed at the man in question, none of which are positive; anger, dismay and regret chief among them. However, the response to the conclusion of the Cesc Fabregas saga was largely a shrug of shoulders and a 'thank goodness that's over'. Any vitriol will likely be saved for those he left behind, whose new era begins when Arsenal take to the field against Udinese in the Champions League on Tuesday night.  Centre of attention: Cesc Fabregas was finally unveiled as a Barcelona player Nobody emerges from the tug of war without their good name sullied, except, perhaps, the individual at the centre of it all. Arsene Wenger's false promises over recruitment at Emirates Stadium- both to Fabregas himself, and the fans who no longer live by the mantra 'Arsene Knows' - and Barcelona's arrogance in negotiation and flagrant disregard for the feelings of those connected to Arsenal throughout their approach, are the overriding memories of the three-year fight for one of the planet's finest purveyors of the beautiful game. Humble beginnings: Fabregas made his debut in the League Cup against Rotherham in 2003 On the occasions I've been fortunate to meet Fabregas, I found an exceptionally grounded young man who exuded confidence without tipping the scale into cocky. There were times when certain menial media tasks appeared beneath him, perhaps due the sheer volume asked of an individual as popular as he, yet in captaincy he led by example, off the field at least. Educated at the world famous La Masia and shaped into the superstar he is today on a former school playing field off the A1 just outside London, Fabregas has, statistically at least, been Europe's most creative midfielder over the last five years; his amount of 'chances created' exceeds that of the players - Xavi and Andreas Iniesta - he has been bought to replace in the long-term. That he could boast such a record yet not top the actual assists list is down to the paucity of talent alongside which he was forced to play; few could argue the incisive eye-of-the-needle passes which became his trademark deserved better than Nicklas Bendtner on the end.  Father figure: Fabregas was gushing in his praise of his former manager It is that mediocrity - despite the not-so-great Dane's protests to the contrary - that has heightened Fabregas' desire to leave the Emirates. All around him at Arsenal, the Spaniard has too often seen players far below his level, where once he felt the guiding hand of Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell and Thierry Henry.   Invincibles captain Vieira was in his late 20s with three Premier League titles as well as a World Cup winners medal to his name when a young Cesc began to assert himself on the team; the peak age from which he could mentor the pretender to his throne. Later, with the likes of Denilson looking for inspiration, the burden fell on 21-year-old Fabregas, handed the armband after William Gallas was stripped of it in disgrace in November 2008. A sign of Fabregas' maturity is that his own form improved following his promotion, the numbers bear that out. His suitability for the captaincy, though, remains a divisive point. Handed it as Arsenal's slip became a slump, when natural born leadership was so desperately required, it was an act of desperation from Wenger who knew then his star turn was agitating for a move home. Guiding hand: Patrick Vieria were key to helping the young Cesc develop Fabregas' behaviour prior to last season's Champions League knockout clash at the Nou Camp, in which he hugged and laughed with almost every member of the Barca side in the NouCamp tunnel, attracted derision, while his own inability to overlook adversity on the field has doubtless cost the Gunners points in season after season of humiliating collapse. Yet despite those blots on his copybook he leaves north London after 303 memory-laden appearances with the goodwill of the majority of supporters and, as said, as the only one to emerge from the transfer debacle with any credit. Rarity: His only piece of silverware at Arsenal was the 2005 FA Cup Who could blame an ambitious, and clearly suitable, individual for craving a spot among his best friends and current conquerors of the world? He has given eight years - perhaps the most important period of his life - to a place with which he had no previous affinity. That he's respected the situation enough to keep his toys, publicly at least, in the pram is rare in the modern game. Ona human level, the yearning for 'home' is something with which we can all sympathise. Even on extended holidays we crave the feeling of familiarity, and few of us have to face up to soldiering on without it midway though our teens. Not even wealth beyond our wildest dreams can be a suitable substitute. Critics, though, will use the whopping eight-year contract from which Fabregas has been released just halfway through as a stick to beat him. But it comes back to the promises, the relentless drone of positivity spouted from his once revered, but sadly now reviled, manager. Coming of age: Champions League goals against Juventus (pictured) and, later, AC Milan catapulted Fabregas into the eyes of the world Too often Wenger proclaimed to havingbold plans for future, the money to build a title-winning side, yet Groundhog Day enveloped N5 every summer since the club last had its hands on any silverware of note, back in 2005. Frankly, the Emirates Cupcannot satisfy the world's best... and even then, that particular tin pot has eluded them more often than not. Wenger'sposition is one for another time. That supporters have booed a pre-season draw, though, suggests the argument over the Frenchman's long-term future will soon be bought to the fore. All smiles: The relationship with Barca players got in the way of his duties And what of Barcelona. 'Mes que un club' - more than a club, we are told. Well, finally, after years of trying - lest we forget they too went through six barren years as their project slowly came to fruition - they have earned that tag. But the measure of a man is how he handles such a station, and in that sense Fabregas brings something - modesty - sadly lacking from the Catalan giants. Cat that got the Catalan cream: Sandro Rossell was the architect of the transfer More than a club: Barcelona's behaviour has been appalling throughout the saga They have created an alluring image based around their hypnotic football style which covers a multitude of sins, and less than 12 months after they sought financial assistance to the tune of almost ?150million just to pay the wages, they have blown almost ?60m more on player recruitment. Something stinks. Make no mistake, signing Fabregas' is a vanity purchase - used initially as a political weapon by Sandro Rossell as he fought for election as Barcelona's club president in 2010 - as opposed to that of Alexis Sanchez earlier this summer which was borne out of necessity. The new No 4 will no doubt shine, though, and probably quicker than the other new recruits. For Barcelona is on his heart, and when something, or someone, has a special place in there, one can overlook their faults. Perhaps that's why a hero's welcome is waiting should fate once again bring his two loves together again. Sealed with a kiss: Fabregas departs Arsenal a legend, to become one in Spain  Barcelona got ?35m Fabregas on the cheap, admits Wenger Stalking Barcelona get their man as ?35m Fabregas is unveiled at the Nou Camp Fabregas full of praise for Wenger and the Arsenal fans as he completes move to Barcelona The show must go on: Wenger prepares Arsenal for life after Fabregas


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