Why I Don’t Want Cesc Fabregas

He’s a fantastic footballer. He’s a World Cup winner, captain of a top 10 side in the world, and he already knows the Barça ropes—culturally as well as sportingly—but I want no part of him. There are good arguments that he would add depth to the midfield and attack, a seriously good argument that if the team wants him (true) or needs him (debatable) then now is the time because he can spend Xavi’s waning years learning from the maestro, and a closeness between him and other members of the squad that wouldn’t break apart the dressing room. But I want no part of him.

My reasoning is fairly simple: he left. It was his right to do so, I firmly believe, and I hold nothing against him for that. I’m happy for him that he was able to find success at Arsenal and on the national team and if Torres is worth £50m or Andy Carroll worth £35m, then Cesc is certainly worth €35m.

But he left. He walked away from Barça and, again, that is his right to do so, but it is also our right to say “Okay, good luck, goodbye.” And if he wants to come back, he can come back, but not for a price. Not for more than the fee that was eventually paid for him (you could adjust for inflation if you really want). It was his choice to leave, to play with the Spanish and English laws and disappear for a night. And I cannot stress this enough: that is his right and I do not hold it against him as a person. I probably would have made a similar decision.

It’s just that Barça is a club that trains a lot of players and we cannot set the precedent of buying back those who leave the club when we can do nothing about it (and make no mistake, we could do nothing about it). It is not a question of them being “ours” because they can leave if they want; instead, it is a question of the club’s perspective on who to bring back. Gerard Pique cost €5m too much for me (or that minus whatever the fee we ended up receiving for him was). Yes, that was a great deal in the market and a total flub by Manchester United (unless you buy that Barça youth products can’t play outside of Barça, which I wouldn’t argue too strongly against), but we shouldn’t have done it.

It was also Fabregas’ decision to sign a contract extension rather than wait until his contract expired and choose his suitor. I realize that contract extensions and re-ups in Europe are different than in the United States where free agency rules a lot of the market, but it should have been made clear to him at the time that he wouldn’t be returning to Barça until 2015 if he signed that extension. Would he still have done it? I don’t know—the raise was probably pretty huge and hard to pass up. But that’s his decision.

And it’s not that I think Fabregas betrayed Barça, though perhaps there’s a smidge of that, it’s that others have not done so. Thiago has shown loyalty, Xavi showed loyalty and worked to break into the system rather than leaving for an easier assignment. And if that was the decision he felt he should make for his career, again, all the luck in the world to him. But not at Barça unless he comes back not costing us anything.

I believe in player’s rights above club concerns, but that does not mean that the club cannot decide to reject an eight figure transfer for a player that left of his own accord. And yes, I realize this limits our options on a couple of players, but I’m okay with that. If Gio Dos Santos (suddenly, unexpectedly, shockingly) turns into a world beater, then we can buy him back because we sold him. He didn’t leave us in the lurch. Of course, I’d completely understood if he turned down that offer, but that’s his decision, not mine.

Some more nuance: Yaya Toure left because of a variety of factors including playing time and wages. Manchester City were there offering not only a large raise, but also the ability to play with his brother, Kolo, and Barça cashed in on that desire to the tune of €24m, a nice €13m profit on the player, effectively saying that the team could do at least as well without him (though Mascherano was purchased soon after). It could be argued that Yaya held us over the coals and because we weren’t going to be held to ransom, he had to move. He would, then, in a sense, qualify for the Cesc Rule. Each situation is different and obviously we have little information about the precise goings on behind-the-scenes.

Because of these nuances, I understand if others have a different view. That’s okay, I get it. Perhaps the team would be better with Cesc than without and perhaps some believe in bringing back The Catalan Kid. It seems unlikely that it would be worse given the Spanish national team example of how the midfield could work. It just feels wrong, like the club is being snookered by an impatient child incapable of working through, like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, even Bojan. Fight for your place rather than look up the ladder and say “I can’t make it here.” If you’re that good—if you’re worth €35m+—you’re good enough to earn a spot. And if you feel like you want to go elsewhere to earn money now, during what is a short shelf life, that is perfectly acceptable. But to me, that’s the same as shutting the door behind you as you go out.

Categorized as Thoughts

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Just a thought on United’s summer so far:
    They have spent 60 million Euros (roughly 20 for each of their signings), and have come out of it looking no better than last year. They brought in a centre back who won’t immeadiately make them better, a winger who will fight for a starting spot but most likely won’t provide too much of a boost, and a goalie who is going to have some adjusting to do, and is going to be a step down from VDS. That’s a pretty rough summer, if you are a supporter that wants to win the Champions League.

    Kind of ironically, we are probably going to end up with two players that actually could make them considerably better and probably won’t even start on our team.

    1. To be fair, almost anybody would be a step down from VDS. I expect De Gea will do very well once he settles in.

    2. What I reaaally don’t understand is the following:

      the last 3 yrs their biggest need has been a creative midfielder.

      2 summers ago Ferguson did not even make a bid for Sneijder.
      1 summer ago he did not even make a bid for Ozil.
      This summer he has not even made a bid for Sahin.

      All of them were sold for cheap. All of them would have made Man Utd a lot stronger. All of them would have been a better signing than any of the players Ferguson has signed.


    3. Remember Veron. After that Fergie has not tried that experiment again. He doesnt play that game. Apart from David Silva no other English team has a pure creative midfielder.

    4. But Veron is very different from both Sneijder and Ozil (haven’t seen enough from Sahin to judge).

      Sneijder would have been the perfect replacement for Paul Scholes, imo. Would still be, actually.

  2. thiago’s release clause is 90M. I guess we can make a swap deal for Cesc now….(+ RvP + Nasri + Wilshere)

  3. We have just secured the services of one the most promising young players in the world. And we are on the verge of signing 2 of the best young players in the world. So stop moaning about us not signing a left back from Gijon!

  4. U21 coach Luis Milla has come out and said that he didn’t use Bojan as a starter in the tournament because all the uncertainty about his future affected his performance.

    Regarding the placement of Bojan Krkic as a substitute in the tournament, Milla said, ”he was a great player in the squad, yet he was concerned and distracted about his future. This along with his arrival a bit not into the rhythm of competition, resulted in less minutes played”.

    This makes me sad, but it also shows just how much Bojan needs to get away from Barcelona for a while. He has been under huge pressure all season and he clearly doesn’t handle it well. He needs a fresh start without that enormous burden of living up to the expectations that have been put on him. A new club, a coach that doesn’t have a previous relationship with him, fans that will see him as a man rather than a wunderkind, a chance to shine on his own merits (and he does have them) and build his confidence. It’s what he needs and I hope he does really well at Roma. I expect we will see the official announcement in a day or two.

  5. Off-topic: Federer has been eliminated from Wimbledon after losing his quarterfinal match to Tsonga.

    Did not expect that! It’s Rafa’s tournament to lose, now.

    1. WHAT THE FUDGE!??!??!?!????!!!!! Damn, I was gone was 4 hours and this is what happens?! 😯 I’m devastated. 🙁

    2. Ah Jim, you forget–he is British until he loses, and only *then* is he Scottish.

      (I am joking, of course).

  6. Does anyone have an idea who made the 50 million euro bid for Pastore? Is that just baloney, or did Chelsea/City spring for him?

    1. You saw nothing. NOTHING, I say.

      ….I took it down because someone else is doing it and I figured you’d want to here it from someone else. My post was basically:

      Thiago renews. OMGOMGOMG. And the deal with it .gif to haters.

    2. Yeah, I had enough time to read it. I guess your coordination still isn’t top notch yet? 😀 Just kidding

  7. feel so bad for federer.

    may be the end is near for the classiest and greatest tennis player.

    but ali played with verb and cojones.i feel tsonga has all the quality to become a great player,he just has to sort out his mental toughness,me think.

  8. While I don’t agree with the logic here or the assessent of not wanting Fabregas, particularly given the prospect of playing behind Xavi, Iniesta, and Deco (and Van Bommel & Edmilson ) when he left…the logic does hold true on this being EXACTLY why we want Sanchez. To have a player of that caliber with a passion and death bed Cule promise is too good of an opportunity to pass up in today’s free agent market.

    In other news, does this mean we are destined never to have any size at midfield or forward? Go Busi???

    Bienvenidos a Thiago!!

  9. This Barcelona is already one of the greatest squads of all time. And I see Cesc Fabregas as one of only a few players who can immediately add significant improvements to the overall versatility and quality of the team’s play.

    Cesc could do more for our attack than Alexis Sanchez. It’s nice to think of all these fancy players to add up front but our forward line could hardly be improved. Sanchez isn’t exactly the big target plan B striker that many think we need to counter “anti-football”. And bearing in mind that there’s no set eleven that will play every match of the season, with Fab in the team Iniesta gets more games in an attacking role. And Don Andres is pretty good at that the last time I checked. Pedro, who would still get a substantial number of starts, could be a great option off the bench – one of the things we’ve been lacking.

    As far as the tiki taka goes, it should be just as fluid with Xavi-Busi-Fab in the middle. It may even be more mesmerizing since Iniesta would also join in. For me, one of the most noticeable shortcomings of the team is the midfielders’ low scoring output. As legendary as Xavi and Iniesta are, Cesc is a by far a better goal scorer. Against teams that sit back and defend (which seems like almost everybody these days), it’s getting harder and harder for the forwards to find space. Where XavIniestaBusi sometimes hesitate or take weak shots, Cesc will surely test the goalkeeper if not find the back of the net.

    Now I didn’t love the fact that he signed the second contract extension either, but he certainly wants to go back home to play for the club he clearly loves with Spanish teammates,friends and a coach who obviously admire him. And I surely don’t hold any grudges against him regarding his past decisions. The fact that he was once our player shouldn’t have any bearing on what we should be willing to pay for him now. The fact is he’s an Arsenal player today and if we are serious about getting him we should pay them what he’s worth. While I don’t think Barca should spend more than €40m, expecting to get someone of his quality for less than €30m is unrealistic and insulting.

  10. I am going to be a minority here-as I have always being- on the subject of Cesc. I cannot disagree with you more even though I recognize your reason and appreciate your passion. And here is why.
    The whole argument against Cesc, which is his premature departure from Barca is unconvincing to me. This lad was 16 at the time and two factors triggered his departure:economic factors and the guarantee of making it to the senior side. He got none of that.You may say that is greed, impatience etc and I will agree with you. But is Barca also not being guilty of pussy footing as well? We do let go countless number of players who never made it to the senior side, should those players become calcified foes of the club? The whole point here is this: Barca never identified the gem he truly is and never made the necessary moves to relieve him of his anxieties. So, as we blame him for leaving in the first place, let us also recognize the sloppy job the club did.

    Am also amazed that given the disappointment that Barca felt about the Cesc saga, the club has not been very aggressive in preventing similar situations from developing by urging soccer authorities to curb the preying tendencies of teams like Arsenal.

    Lastly, this lad is a great player who will seamlessly fit into our game. Adding him to the squad is an instant boost and an insurance policy against the aging Xavi.

    So, despite the disappointment, I believe it is a good move.

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