The transfer saga that dragged on throughout last summer is set to rear its head again in the coming days. Spanish newspaper Marca published an article over the weekend claiming that personal terms have all been agreed but the deal still hinges on whether Arsenal and Barcelona can agree a deal.
The fee Barcelona are willing to pay appears to be around the £35 million mark with a possibility over player exchanges to lower the cash amount. Their valuation appears to be comparable with David Silva who moved from Valencia to Manchester City last summer for £24 million. Silva is a year older than Cesc and struggles to hold down a regular starting place for Spain, which is similar to Fabregas.
However, with some of the astronomical transfer fees that Liverpool in particular have paid in recent months Arsenal’s valuation is considerably higher. They see their captain valued around the £45-50 million mark which would almost certainly price Barca out of a move. The key issue remains whether Fabregas really wants to leave Arsenal.
There is no question that he would like to return to Catalonia in the near future and play for his beloved Barcelona. Questions have been raised about how much he would play but modern day football is all about squads. The physical demands on the top players these days are far greater than at any time in the past. Previous championship winners used to be able to win trophies using 15 players; this is simply not possible these days. When you consider Seydou Keita made 56 appearances for Barca this season this question is put into perspective; although many were as a substitute late on in games.
The player exchange rumour is one that could interest Arsene Wenger. Last night showcased Thiago Alcantara’s ability and he certainly looks like another talented prospect who has graduated through Barca’s academy La Masia. However, losing his captain would be disastrous for Wenger. Since his arrival in 2003 he has been nurtured and developed into being the player he is now. The natural ability he possesses was always there but playing with the likes of Vieira has made him the player he is today.
It would represent a massive blow to Arsenal if Fabregas does decide his future lies in Barcelona. However, with the varying degree of valuations floating around it seems unlikely a deal will be agreed, unless Barcelona pulls out all the stops. If Ibrahimovic signs for AC Milan they will receive €24 million after the fee was agreed last summer. Although they have already made moves to sign Guiseppe Rossi from Villareal there should be just enough money to sign Cesc.
The pressure being applied from the Barcelona players must be difficult to ignore for Fabregas who has stated he would only move to Barca if he indeed leaves Arsenal. It will be an interesting few weeks but I for one hope it is resolved one way or the other quickly. It would be a great shame for the Premier League to lose one of its real genuine talents but on the other side it would be interesting to see him progress at the best club in the world.