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.