Not many players play on with a broken leg. That’s my overriding memory of Cesc Fabregas, scoring a penalty, breaking his leg in the process (or damaging it further) and playing on for the last 5 minutes. Hobbling around, shouting, organising and corralling his team-mates.
It’s said to see Fabregas go, it feels like we never really matched his potential. He’s a World Cup winner, and there’s something down inside me that thinks that last season, winning the league might have convinced him to stay for another year or so. I think the way in which we capitulated was realistically always going to accelerate his departure. I mean, would you want to be within touching distance every year and fall short in the final months? Or would you want to be lifting trophies? Arsenal should have been winning trophies with a footballer as talented as Fabregas in the side – which makes me fear for Robin Van Persie next.
There are some who question Fabregas as a leader – and I’m one of them. The captaincy fell to him by default almost, and seemed to weigh him down at times, like it did Henry. Not only was he carrying the team, he was carry their leadership – expected to win matches as well as well as keep the team from collapsing – as at Newcastle, it didn’t always work.
But that takes nothing away from the player, who will surely thrive at the Camp Nou with the weight of a captains expectation lifted from his shoulders. Rotating into the Barca squad, he’ll be fresh and hungry, eager to take Xavi’s place.
I hope Cesc does well, on a personal level, but I hope Barcelona fail to win anything for the next 100 years because Cesc aside, they’re a bunch of horrible tossers for obvious reasons.
So attention will inevitably turn to replacements. Thomas Rosicky has been exceptional in pre-season and played well against Newcastle – but his days of 40 game seasons (hell, 90 minute matches) are firmly behind him, he’ll probably only be backup. Nasri, who’s chance this is, has backed away, and turns to Manchester. Hopefully they’ll not win anything for 100 years either.
So we’ll have to look outward – there are the names we’ve been linked with already like Jadson. I’m not convinced though really, a 27 year old who’s spent 7 years in Russia? He’s hardly lighting up the world stage is he, with his 4 caps? Although maybe a 27 year old is exactly what Arsenal need right now, a player who won’t impede the progress of Ramsey and Wilshere?
I don’t know what our options are, but having to replace a player like Fabregas won’t be easy. Just because you have £30m to spend, it doesn’t mean that clubs want to sell their best players. It doesn’t mean the players will even want to come to Arsenal. It’s not as easy as buying biscuits in the supermarket, unless you’re Manchester City and you just buy the supermarket.
Fingers crossed this will have a happy ending – there are still 2 weeks left until we find out the exact outcome and who will be replacing Cesc if anybody. Hold your vitriol and abuse until then.