It’s that Cesc Fabregas time of year again

Surprise surprise, the summer break begins and we are back to talking about Cesc Fabregas. Before the World Cup last summer there was a short while when the transfer looked quite likely after that reported meeting between Arsene Wenger and the player had us believing that Wenger had told the player to concentrate on the World Cup and that he (Wenger) would take care of the player’s future. In the end of course nothing happened because Arsenal refused to accept Barça’s offer of €42 million and we refused to go any higher. We should remember this as the summer progresses no matter how many times Cesc is seen in Catalunya or how many times Xavi, Piqué or anyone tells us that Cesc “wants to play for Barça”.

Once again Arsenal are reported to be “resigned” to losing the player, but just as Barça will not buy at any price, the Londoners will not sell for less than they think the player is worth. It has been reported that Arsenal want €55 million for Fabregas which is more than I would pay for him. Last summer writing for Fcbnews, I said that €48 million would be the absolute maximum for him and I see no reason to increase that now. This morning I have read that Barça have made an offer of €31 million plus Thiago Alcantara which I don’t think Arsenal are going to consider but I also think is an offer which we should not increase.

Whether we should include Thiago, a player with such talent and potential, in the deal is another question of course. Bojan and Jeffren are also rumoured as players who could be sold this summer to help pay for others coming in. Here, I suppose we have to accept that not all our young talents will make it through to be first team regulars, and from every crop of promises only one or two will make it all the way at Barça. Thiago has enormous talent but there is a slight tendency for him to lose the ball more often than is desired for a team that rely so heavily on possession. I’m sure he has a big future but I’m not sure whether that is at Barça or not. The other problem of course with a Thiago deal is how Thiago and his father Mazinho take it, we don’t want to mess with the family especially when younger brother Rafinha may turn out to be the real star.

Cesc would definitely be a useful addition to the squad but I do not see him as a priority. With the probable departure of Milito and Maxwell the club are reportedly looking for a defender. It seems that with the discovery that Abidal and Mascherano can both play in central defence we are now looking for another left back. Sporting Gijon’s Jose Angel or Newcastle’s Jose Enrique are seen as possibilities though I have to admit to being surprised not to see Gareth Bale’s name mentioned. No doubt whoever it is will end up covering at centre-half sooner or later!

And of course we are looking for a striker, or possibly two. Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi is one of the few players in La Liga outside of Barça and Madrid who has really impressed me and his signing would definitely increase competition up front. This season’s back-up for Messi, Pedro and Villa was Bojan, Jeffren and Afellay, and I’m sure Rossi would improve things. Another option is the Chilean international Alexis Sanchez who currently plays for Udinese in Italy. I’ve not seen a lot of him but he fits the Barça type of player profile, being small, nippy and very skillful, and at 22 years old he has time to improve.

We should definitely not sit on our laurels. After our successes in 2006 the team stagnated, but after 2009 Guardiola has continued to change things which helps to keep everyone on their toes. Some new blood should be welcomed and we should also accept that not all our youngsters can make it, after all we need to make a bit of room for the Deulofeus and Sergi Robertos coming through.

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27 Responses to It’s that Cesc Fabregas time of year again

  1. Josher says:

    i honestly don’t want to see cesc in a barca uniform anymore. if any more attacking players show up bojan needs to leave for his own good. Gareth Bale in theory would work well as a left back but I’m sure the spurs would want much more for him than he’s worth. I hope we see a young cb/dm who will be able to help puyol with minutes. i want to see a situation where pique is playing dm.

  2. barcacentralomer says:

    I totally agree with the blog title Nic. To be honest I don’t see signing Fab as a must. Sure he’s the natural successor to Xavi but we need to consider other factors as well. Firstly, should we allow Arsenal to hold us to ransom for a player who is a product of our youth academy and himself wants to return to Barca. I mean where is the rationale in paying 40-50 million for our own cantera grad. Plus Aaron Ramsey has been/ is being groomed to take over Fab’s role in the Gunners squad so lets not be rushed into a player who we will get eventually but on our terms. Now if I really wanted to rattle Arsenal I’d make a shock bid for Ramsey who’s young, gifted and COULD in a couple of years be as good as Fab.

    Now I know a lot of people say that we don’t have quality backup for Xavi and Iniesta. IMO you can’t have backup for those kind of players. They’re the best midfielders of the past decade if not the past 20 years. Yes, Fab would be close to Xavi but maybe if we give Thiago and JDS another season we’ll have decent backup player(s) who don’t mind warming the bench, we’ll save 40-50 million for the more pressing requirements in other positions like winger/forward and a LB and we’ll also be telling the Sergi Robertos that if they stay, work hard and improve they’ll end up in the starting XI someday.

    Regarding the winger/striker and LB potential signings, well that’ll be another post.

  3. layibiyi says:

    buying cesc for about 50 million sets a dangerous precedent for our youngsters . . . .i suggest we wait about a year or two still so his value drops.

  4. barcacentralroger says:

    I tend to agree regarding paying a fortune for Cesc now, however I remember talk that Cesc himself could buy himself out of his contract by paying the salary due… is that right? I seem to remember that last season it was only around 35m Euros and would have expectedly come down further… I admit this might be one of those transfer window rumours that pop up.

    Also, am I right in thinking that Ibrahimovic is permanent now at Milan (see last line of http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11854_6967980,00.html)? How did I miss this? How much did we get for him in the end?

    Finally, if we do go ahead with using Bojan, Jeffren and others in part-exchanges please let us include some buy-back options for once.

  5. Mike M says:

    I’m against the signing of Fabregas, it would be a big waste of valuable money, if he seriously wants to come back to Barca and win trophies, then he must buy out his contract and come here for free, otherwise h must run his contract down and NOT sign a new one.

    We don’t need Cesc with Thiago and JDS around, these 2 are good enough back up for Xavi and Iniesta.

    I’m also not liking the idea of Sanchez comming to Barca, as when i’ve watched him play, his end product and shooting leave much to be desired… But he’d be an improvement on Jeffren, and would get more minutes…

  6. FCB-Parbo says:

    You know what! Last year it seemed that this same Cesc was crying out loud to come to Barca. And then he said that Wenger is like a father to him and all of a sudden he signed an extension contract. (I think till 2016 ). If he really was so desperate for Barca, then why on earth did he signed back then. He could just played his contract out, but nooo he was so stupid to do so. Now they expect that we pay much more for him? We don’t need him desparately, so he can stay with his father.

  7. blaugranaboy says:

    all the talk here about cesc and nada on alexis and rossi.

    so to chime in, i want cesc back. maybe not this year but sometime sooner than later. he is an excellent player, our player, and sorry to disagree with someone above but ramsey will never reach his level. if he stays at arsenal we can let it be, but if someone comes sniffing and the deal could happen we may have to move.

    i find the other two more interesting because honestly, i dont want both. making so many big marquee signings is not barca, but rather ala madrid, chelsea, city. i think one of rossi and sanchez will be more than enough. both can play both sides, both have goals. honestly, i have seen very little of sanchez so cannot comment properly, but ive seen rossi play a lot and he would fit in well as villarreal play the closest to barca of any other team.

    but really only one, otherwise we start to hoard talent and thats my most hated thing in football. i think the papers are just turning stories out because i dont see pep wanting so many players in the squad.

    i think a CB could be the other signing we should look at. the left and right is covered well so just a FAST cb. we need a fast one in the mold of puyol, because fontas is coming up and he is basically just like pique. though abidal slotted in perfectly and could do so again, as well as masch ( i mean really, i dont think i have stressed how amazingly impressed i was with him at the back during the parts of the season that mattered) but getting a cb in could be good if the right one is identified.

    thats my input, and prob my last. i no longer have a love for the transfer season as before so i just like to wait and see what actually materializes.

  8. FCB says:

    blaugranaboy – I agree with almost everything you said. I think that 3 signings would be enough. I would like to see Fabregas, I don’t think he would mess up Thiago’s development at all. The season is long, there are many games. Last season when Thiago could have played but Pep just chose to continue playing with Xavi and Iniesta. Eventually they will get injured or they will need rest.
    I do also think we need one of either Sanchez or Rossi. We don’t need both because we still have Affelay. I am not sure about Bojan but I think he should stay. It looks likely that Jeffren will leave and we may also sell Maxwell. I also don’t understand why Barca just doesn’t sell Ibra. They would make so much money.

  9. barcacentralomer says:

    I think almost all of us are agreed on getting Rossi whereas the return of Fab is a complicated issue at the moment. I believe the Barca transfer kitty for the summer has also been announced and we have £40m for transfers, plus the money that can be obtained from sale of players in the close-season. With Rossi costing us around £25 million that leaves us with just 15 million and I don’t think we’ll be able to get Sanchez with that amount. Moreover like someone said we don’t need both Rossi and Sanchez as we already have Afellay as backup on one flank and Bojan and Jeffren as well. I also don’t believe Arsenal are going to let us have Fab for 40 million so IMO Rossi will probably be the only BIg Barca signing of the summer.

    The thing that I’m still not clear about is whether Milan have exercised their purchase clause in the Ibra loan deal that was worth around £21 million and if that amount is included in the transfer budget announced by the club. If it isn’t then with some more player sales [Bojan/Jeffren/Maxwell] we could have a much larger transfer budget than the one announced and it could mean two BIG signings. I also agree we should incorporate buy back clauses in the youngsters being disposed of [if any].

    I’m surprised no one has discussed the need to sign a LB. I had been going on and on about a CB since last season but with Abidal and Masch easing int the role during the current season, Puyol coming back in a few months and Fontas warming the bench perhaps that position is adequately covered for next season.

    @Nic: Can you give us some info on Mino bcos Pinto will be good for another season or two. Valdes at present has no regular understudy and so I’m wondering in case of injury/suspension if Mino is good enough to be considered Barca’s future No 1.

  10. barcacentalomer says:

    Regarding the LB topic, Barca don’t appear to be too concerned about it because Clichy who IMO would be able to fit into our playing style is available for around 5 million yet he’s only attracting interest from EPL clubs after planned moves to Juve and Bayern both folded. Its possible we intend to hold onto Maxwell for the coming season and with Adriano also available signing a LB might not be a priority.

  11. caleb says:

    I would love to see Clichy come to Barca. He’s great: really fast, can get forward well, and pretty solid at defending.

  12. What an excellent video (I posted it at my blog.) I just don’t understand why Cesc would even want to leave Arsenal. Is he going to break the Xavi/Iniesta duopoly? He hasn’t done so for Spain.

    Being an American, I am very conflicted about Rossi, especially when the US team plays so poorly like at the Gold Cup. Sanchez is a tremendous talent, but is he really at that level yet? And how can we tell given that he has yet to play in the Champions League?

    I’m hoping at least one great player comes out of the cantera, a la Pedro.

  13. Fredegar says:

    Silly season, here we go again!
    First thing first, those going out: I think Bojan and Jeffren have made their time at Barça, it’s time to let them go. Not with a light heart, they could still become fantastic players, but they will have to prove that in another club. Also, I would not be against Maxwell leaving, he’s been a great servant, but he probably won’t have a lot of playing time next year and finding someone to replace him could help us to “rejuvenate” a bit our defense, I think we need a bit of fresh blood there, be it on the center or on the left. But who? As we have a lot of speculation concerning our midfield and offense, I’ve seen very few for our defense… Personnally, I wouldn’t want Clichy. If Arsenal fans question him (and they do it a lot), I don’t think he has the necessary quality to play for us. Could we not just give their chance to our youngsters in this area as many of them (Fontas, Bartra, Montoya) seem to come of age?

    Then the forward line: I do like Rossi a lot: indisputable quality, goals, work rate, experience in England and Italy and in the CL, full international, totally adapted in Spain, still young, I would want him very much. I don’t know a lot about Sanchez, and the fact that the biggest clubs seem to be interested in him shows that he must have something special, but can somebody enlighten me as to what? Till then, I will hold for Rossi, but also have a huge question:
    What the hell did happen to Llorente? Six months ago, we were facing the biggest of battles with Real to attach him, and today nothing? I mean absolutely nothing, not a whisper? I know the big man experiment did not work with Ibra, but frankly it was more because Ibra was not really a “big man”: he was more a typical Barça player but just taller and with less pace and less workrate (and not a better header of the ball than Messi!). Couldn’t we try it once with a real and proven frontman whose workrate is not in question?
    Well, Llorente or not, could we sign two forwards? I think it’s not probable, but possible: if Jeffren AND Bojan leave, we will need to replace them, we really can’t have a SMALLER team than we had last year, so just numerically, we need to replace them. Of course, we could replace one of them with a youngster, or maybe with a midfielder? Cesc anyone?

    Briefly now as I’ve been very long already, I’m not for his venue. He is a very good player, for sure, but do we need him as a back up? If he comes, our midfielders on the bench would be Masch, Keita and Cesc, I’m not sure this is something that Pep wants. Of course he would also set back the perspective of our youngsters in this area. And after all, he decided to leave us to try his chance at Arsenal, and then to sign new contracts there, I’m in agreement with laybibi, this attitude should not be rewarded with a high transfer, it would send the wrong message.

  14. Fredegar says:

    Just as an afterthought, if we really want to go after a London based midfielder to fill in the boots of Xavi, the man we’re looking at is not playing for Arsenal: please step in Mr Modric (although he probably wouldn’t be cheaper!)

  15. layibiyi says:

    fredegar, i dont think pep places too much emphasis on signing a tall striker after we have dominated europe 2ce without one. The only time we failed was when we attempted to adapt one. Never say never though

  16. barcacentralomer says:

    @Fred: Like I said earlier most if not all of us are agreed on the Rossi transfer as he seems to be the player who will adapt easily to our front 3 line-up. Like you I’m not sure what all the hype about Sanchez is about and even if he’s talented surely the transfer sum of 30-35m are ridiculous for such unproven talent.

    Regarding the Plan B/ tall striker option, I agree with layibiyi that the signing of a Llorente type striker seems unlikely at present since there are few if any players that fit that mould, that we can afford and most important who would be able to adapt to the Barca style quickly. From what little I’ve seen of Llorente, I haven’t been too impressed although Bilbao have a youngster who plays in a winger/forward role called Iker Munian who we should be watching very closely as Villa will probably need to be phased out in a few years.

    Fred, like you I’m a bit concerned that the Fab circus and the need for a new winger/striker is drawing attention from the need to bring in reinforcements at the back i.e. at LB and CB. While I agree Clichy has had a below par season but the guy is still young, can improve and considering Arsenal play a similar style of football should adjust in little time to our type of football. Moreover at less than 10 million the guy is a bargain.There aren’t too many impressive LBs who would we could afford and who would be able to play the Barca way . About our youngsters I think only Fontas is a left side defender as Montoya and Bartra apparently are both played on the right flank or in the CB position. I don’t think Fontas is still ready though he might just prove us wrong in a year or two.

    On the Xavi issue, I don’t think any player in the world incl Fab is as good as Xavi. However there are a number of players incl. Fab, Thiago, JDS etc. who could succeed Xavi in a couple of years. Regarding Modric, IMO which could be wrong Modric is deployed in a far more advanced role than Xavi and he is far more mobile than Xavi who likes to dictate play ahead from the centre of midfield. Modric is a different type of playmaker and while he could operate in Xavi territory as well I think Spurs play with 4 in the midfield as opposed to our 3 man midfield. I also think he wants to play 4 Chelski. I don’t know how much you’ve seen of Aaron Ramsey considering he’s come back from a very,very long injury layoff but I’ve seen quite a bit of him and I think he will take over Fab’s playmaking duties when Fab does eventually leave.

  17. layibiyi says:

    @barcacentralomer, sanchez is really good, watched almost all udinese games last season however i’m ok with either rossi or sanchez, i leave that to pep. i would also prefer the angel guy from sporting to clichy. Also, do u still think xavi isnt that mobile. If we play tottenham today, my bets are on xavi to cover more distance than anybody else.

    i dont even bother much with these transfer decisions, we have pep in charge. He would definitely do whats best for us, right?

  18. Hilal says:

    Sanchez over Rossi any day. Rossi may be a good player, but Sanchez has the potential to be one of the best players in the world. He is fast, strong, versatile, can dribble, can pass, scores goals and works his ass off for his team. He has the perfect profile for Barca. Considering Rossi and Sanchez would cost about the same, definitely I would go for Sanchez. I have been hoping we would sign him every since I started watching him play earlier this year. Reports coming out of Chile say we are very close so fingers crossed.

    Nice compilation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgfMSkP7_eU

  19. barcacentralomer says:

    @Laybiyi: I’ve been doing some reading on Sanchez and it appears that he is destined to become the next big superstar in world football with many experts comparing him to CR7 and considering he has all the skills, right attitude as well and most imp- time on his side he might just become a global football icon. Barca according to unconfirmed reports are closing in on his signature.

    I haven’t seen too much of Jose Angel but he’s not undisputed first choice at Gijon where another youngster called Canella is his rival for the LB position. I don’t think he’s the first choice LB for the U-21 Spanish side either but he might develop into a world class LB at Barca.

    Just to clarify the ‘mobile’ issue with Xavi/Modric, what I meant was that Luka to me seems to be popping up everywhere – on the flanks, behind the lone striker and and sometimes in the centre of the midfield – IMO more like Iniesta rather than Xavi who usually pierces the opposition defence with his perfect passes from his CM position.

  20. layibiyi says:

    i only said i would prefer angel because he’s spanish and there must be a reason pep likes him. Never actually seen him play.

    sanchez like cr7? i just hope he doesnt become obsessed with doing 2000-situps-a-day like cr7 🙂

  21. Caleb says:

    I haven’t seen much of Sanchez, but from what I’ve seen he seems like he’s got potential to be a great fit at Barca. Hi’s ability to take defenders on is something that the team lacks a bit. Besides Messi who would you expect to straight up dribble past someone? Alves or Iniesta sometimes… I guess.

    But, while he dribbles, he seems to get his head up well and make passes. Key if he wants to play at Barca. Great dribblers can do well at Barca if they are also great passers (think Ronnie).

    Finally, I love seeing that he appears to work very hard on defense. That’s essential to playing at Barca.

    Obviously it’s hard to know for sure if he’d fulfill his potential (and I’ve only watched highlights, not full games), but from what I’ve seen I think he brings something that Rossi doesn’t.

  22. barcacentralroger says:

    I’m erring towards Alexis Sanchez for our definite main target – having only seen Youtube videos, admittedly, but those Youtube videos having shown his willingness to chase down and win back the ball. Plus I agree that we need more players to straight up beat people – PLUS, he looks to be one of the few players that could stand in for Messi if he got injured (Sanchez’s particular success for Udinese in the latter half of this season seems to have come from being brought inside).

    And you’ll hate me for reminding you of the guy, but this is an entertaining read (check the bit about Cassano):
    http://www.slate.com/id/2296981/

    (BTW – Did we sell this guy in January? How much did we get?)

  23. layibiyi says:

    @barcacentralroger. like i said earlier, i watched most udinese games last season and you really make good points about his tracking back(all part of udinese’s tactics). Another good thing to note about him is his unselfishness. there were many occasions after a series of wonderful one-touch passes ended up with sanchez facing the keeper one on one, he would still look for di natale to finish into an empty net. Don’t know whether he just respects di natale a lot but its nice to see he wasn’t looking for stats all the time.

    too bad the udinese team as well as lille and porto are already facing the expected disintegration. Wish we could see such exciting teams with their full might in the champions league just for a season. Villarreal and dortmund still look good to go now though

    just read the goal.com world 11 to beat barca(people now think they need a world eleven to beat us 🙂 ). i will add that their team was faulty because if pepe gets a red card in the first half, the team’s down to 10 men 🙂 .If i was the one picking, i would be more interested in just getting a sysytem that can neutralize us a bit, selecting stars in a general system wont just cut it.

  24. Caleb says:

    Did anyone see that dive Sanchez took in the Chile game? I hope he’s not going to do a lot of that if he comes to Barça. People complain enough about our diving as it is.

  25. layibiyi says:

    i like sanchez but the price being thrown around now ain’t funny. Man city have just f’d up the market. Think its time we look at our other options.

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