Fabregas on the move?

cesc gol osasunaAfter three seasons at Barça it seems very likely that Cesc Fabregas will be returning to England this summer. Reports suggest that Fabregas’s agent Darren Dein has communicated to the club that the player would be willing to move back to England and that Barça would be prepared to accept an offer in the range of €36-40 million. Chelsea and Manchester City are said to be the most likely buyers.

Few players have caused as much disagreement among fans as Fabregas. Even before he was finally re-signed from Arsenal three years ago there were arguments over the need or not to bring him back to Camp Nou. His figures of 42 goals and 45 assists in a total of 151 appearances for Barça compare favourably to other midfielders though critics accuse him of failing to deliver in the big games.

I was amongst those who was against his signing in 2011 but since then I feel he has become an important member of the squad. In each of his three seasons he has started strongly and deservedly won his place in the team, and whether under Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova or Tata Martino his promising start to the season coincided with the team’s best football. He flourished with Guardiola’s 3-4-3 system, culminating with the spectacular 4-0 win over Santos in the Club World Cup Final in December 2011. Then the following season he played an important role during the record-breaking first half of the league season when Vilanova’s team took 55 points from a possible 57. Under Martino he also began well and even kept Andrés Iniesta out of the team for a while. However, in each season his contribution faded in the spring and it is difficult to remember an influential performance in any of the Champions League knock-out stage games.

If Fabregas leaves we may never know the real reason for his decision. It is possible that the club told him they were prepared to listen to offers in which case the player may prefer to jump before he is pushed. It is also likely that he feels unappreciated by the fans who unfairly picked him out for a whistling in the game against Athletic Club in April. It could simply be that he recognises that his talents are more suited to the more anarchic English game or maybe he just wants to escape the overbearing media pressure at Barça. Finally, of course, we can’t discount the player making a considerable financial gain from the move.

Whatever the case, the decision is surprising as Fabregas seemed so keen to succeed in Barcelona. From the club’s point of view there is obviously the need to sell in order to be able to buy and with Rafinha returning it may well be good business if the price is right. It seems likely that Alex Song will also leave this summer which would leave Busquets, Xavi, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha and Iniesta as midfielders. There is the possibility that Javier Mascherano could be used as cover for Busquets but the club will be looking to sign another midfielder with Koke, Ivan Rakitic, Toure Yaya, Javi Martinez and the Juventus pair, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, all mentioned in recent weeks.

Martinez is a player I’ve always liked and he has the added benefit of versatility, being able to play in defence or even as an emergency striker; the problem would be to get Bayern to sell and this probably makes him the least likely of the candidates. Toure would be highly popular with fans (while no doubt increasing debate on this blog :-)  ) and despite his 31 years he showed last season that he is in tremendous form; however, if Barça are thinking long term then it seems likely we will go for a younger player. 22-year-old Koke has been brilliant for Atlético this season and would add much needed intensity to the midfield, the only question here is the reported price tag of €60 million which would leave less money to reinforce other positions. Pogba and Vidal would be equally expensive while the question of adapting to a new league makes them slightly more risky. Finally, there is Rakitic who has had an excellent season with Sevilla and for me fits the bill on all counts. At 26 he has a good few years in him and he could play in any of the three midfield positions. Last season he scored 15 goals and made 17 assists, and at 184 cm tall he may not be a giant but he will add a bit more than Fabregas (179 cm) in defending set-pieces. Also, his reported price of around €25 million would not break the kitty.

So what do you guys think? Are Barça right to let Cesc go? How much do you think he is worth? And who would you sign as a midfield reinforcement?

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6 Responses to Fabregas on the move?

  1. EatSleepThinkBleedFCBarcelona says:

    I think Fabregas is now a liability indeed due to a need to find the proper balance in midfield.

    Next season will most likely be the season that another legend will be at his very peak of his prowess. That being Andres Iniesta. As we all know Iniesta is not a physical player, neither is he an aggressive one. Considering that we often prefer to stick to our much famed 4-3-3 in recent years…it is absolutely vital for us to invest in a midfield partner that can provide us with a decent height(176 CM tall and above), possess very good aggression, good passing range, someone who is good at both attack and defense.

    The thing about Fabregas is …while he has a really good passing range and good vision…..he certainly suits a more anarchic role…..he strives when given the added freedom to roam. Sadly, in our system, we already have the free roaming role given to Messi and to have 2 players in free role will leave us very open to attacks against top class opposition.

    What I also noticed in Fabregas is…while he is good on the attack….he doesn’t exactly have the needed aggression, heading or tackling capabilities to help out Busquets adequately.

    I have mentioned here in the past that I believe if we showed Song enough patience and confidence as we did with Fabregas, he might just make that CM dole alongside Iniesta his own. Have we given Alex Song enough chances to fill in that role? I don’t think so!!

    My answer = We need either Koke or Gundogan(not sure how good is he after that freak injury)
    Why: Because I stress that Alex Song and Sergi Roberto are good enough to back up and rotate when needed.

    We need 2 Center backs more urgently than ever.

    My preferred signings will be

    1- Mehdi Benatia
    2- Dede(Brazil)
    3- Vertonghen
    4- Koke

    My wildest dream signing to top it off will be

    1- EDINSON CAVANI (he will head in every single alves cross….has better mobility than Ibra and can play in all 3 positions up top, Good height, good physique, goal machine, good plan a, good plan b, good everything!))

  2. Payman_7 says:

    To me, Fabregas has contributed very well in the attack — goals and setting up chances are not his problem. I think he’s being pushed out due to lack of aggression and physicality. We are now looking for a box to box midfielder and I think Koke fits the bill perfectly. Physical on the ball, good tackler and goal-scoring/assists all in one player. And only 22 years old!

    For other signings, Benatia’s physical presence would be great in central defense, but he’s gonna be way expensive (Roma don’t want to sell). I would love to see Joao Miranda there. Marquinhos seems to be a decent option but a bit young and undersized for a starting CB. We basically need to get bigger, faster, stronger, and more aggressive, and our current lineup is too wimpy in comparison. Oh, and Aguero to partner Messi would be nice, but I don’t see City selling him.

  3. Caleb says:

    I never would have thought we’d hear talk of Toure coming back and Cesc leaving this summer. I wasn’t for Cesc coming back. I am ok with him leaving. If Iniesta is out of form, then, yes, Cesc seems to make some sense—but the only time that happened was during Iniesta’s contract resigning at the beginning of this season. Iniesta is better in the more attacking role than Cesc is or than Cesc seem likely to become. Iniesta makes fewer mistakes and missed passes. Granted, he bags fewer goals, but more puts in important performances in meaningful games.

    Cesc as false nine seems to work only against teams that we’re already likely to beat. He does not have the pace to trouble top defenses when starting in a more attacking position.

    Most damningly, Cesc can’t replace Xavi. He simply doesn’t have the consistency. He makes too many mistakes and takes risks that Xavi doesn’t.

    Long term, it’s hard to see him really owning a spot on the team. And that’s how its been the whole time. He fills in for people in a makeshift sort of way but has never been able to establish his “role.”

    Rakitic is solid and probably the best deal. Toure would be fun to have back—not least because of the debates he causes on the site. But I don’t actually see him leaving Man City.

    Koke or Vidal would both be good, I think, but pretty expensive.

    I think Sergi Roberto is really good, too. Maybe Enrique will be able to get the best out of him since he is familiar with him. I think he has the potential to be a Barca legend. I could be wrong, but from what I’ve seen of him, he has a lot of class and composure for his age.

    Last thought: we’re talking so little about central defenders, but that is what we clearly need the most. I honestly can’t believe we’re talking about selling Sanchez and getting Kun. People seem to forget how long it takes most players to adapt to Barca, if they ever do. It seems like a really expensive gamble for a(n arguably) marginally better player. IDK. Priorities in signings are a real problem for Barca.

  4. Payman_7 says:

    Oh yes I forgot to mention Ivan Rakitic…. he’s a fabulous player. He would fit Barca perfectly. Excuse me for disagreeing with you Caleb..while Alexis is a good player and a tireless worker, Aguero is on a different level in terms of ball control and finishing ability.

  5. Payman_7 says:

    Some stats from this season: (granted were comparing La Liga to the Prem and Aguero and Sanchez dont play the same exact position) — interesting to look at still.
    Fabregas
    36 Matches, 8 Goals,13 Assists, 52 Shots
    Alexis
    34 Games, 19 Goals, 10 Assists, 66 Shots
    Rakitic
    34 Matches, 12 Goals, 10 Assists, 80 Shots
    Aguero
    23 Games, 17 Goals, 6 Assists, 86 shots

  6. Payman_7 says:

    Koke
    36 Matches, 6 Goals, 13 Assists, 39 Shots

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