After Barcelona’s substantial outlay on David Villa, Arsenal fans have a glimmer of hope of Fabregas staying put in London – for now.
I think Fabregas’ transfer isn’t as certain as some people think it is, now that Barcelona have shown where their priorities lie.
Ignoring all the sensational news about the world’s best young midfielder returning to his spiritual home, Barcelona smartly went ahead and strengthened their squad where they needed it most – up front.
It might be odd to suggest the most prolific side in the world (next to Chelsea this season) needs more quality in attack, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been as big a disappointment as Dimitar Berbatov at Manchester United, and the great Thierry Henry has sadly failed to fit in to the Spanish game.
It’s almost certain that Henry will leave Barcelona this season, but hopefully not to the MLS as some reports are suggesting. It’d be a shame to see such a wonderful player consider semi-retirement at his age – no offence to the MLS.
Anyway, that leaves Pedro and Lionel Messi – both wingers – as Barcelona’s most consistent forwards in the past season. In that sense, the 40 million euros on Villa was well spent indeed.
More importantly, it shows that Barcelona and Pep Guardiola know they don’t need to tinker too much with their midfield.
The heart of the team is already finely balanced now with Xavi, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets fully capable of pulling the strings against any top team in the world.
They have more than decent back-up too. Iniesta can deputise for Xavi in the chief creator’s role, Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure can both add steel in Busquets’ absence, and Pedro and Bojan Krkic can fill in for Messi – both on the wings and as second strikers.
It’s been up front that Barcelona have been found wanting this season. When their supply chain from midfield is been cut, such as in the Champions League against Inter Milan this season, they need a striker who can step up and deliver goals out of nothing. Zlatan was such a player at Inter and even back in Ajax, but unfortunately not in Spain.
Villa on the other hand, is an expert at turning half-chances into goals with quick thinking, superb acceleration and deadly finishing, much like his predecessor Samuel Eto’o. Barcelona with Villa will be a much more dangerous animal than they were with Zlatan, who nevertheless will remain a useful player for them.
So it seems Guardiola is fully aware that they don’t need to sign Fabregas, at least not for now. His midfield will keep ticking with or without him. All they needed was someone who was better at finishing off their good work.
Plus, they are quite certain that Fabregas will some day return to Barcelona. He’s said it himself. So there’s no hurry, really.
They would do well to learn from what was probably Sir Alex Ferguson’s biggest mistake in the transfer market – Juan Sebastian Veron.
United had what was described as the “perfect midfield” at the time – David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs. Bringing in Veron at the time didn’t seem like such a bad idea. You can’t have too much of a good thing, right?
But apparently you can. The move unsettled the balance of the team. Scholes was pushed forward to become a second striker, and Veron took his place in the heart of the team. Neither performed with any sort of distinction during the period, and United’s stranglehold on the Premiership dissolved.
That doesn’t mean Barcelona won’t do well with Fabregas though. He is an exceptional talent. But unsettling the heart of their team now is a risk they don’t need to take at the moment, especially considering how much the move will cost.
One major signing in Villa is more than enough, and they would do well to bolster their defence too.
It would be the best possible outcome for everyone. Barcelona will still be Barcelona. This side has got their best years ahead of them with young stars like Gerard Pique, Bojan, Pedro and Busquets, not to mention Messi and Iniesta.
Arsenal on the other hand, will get one last season to prove to Fabregas that he can win trophies at the club. And they are getting very much closer.
If it doesn’t work out with Arsenal in the next couple of seasons, Fabregas can still move to Barcelona where he can start taking over from Xavi, as opposed to competing with him for a place in the team as he most likely will be if he joins now.
In fact, the only one that stands to lose if the transfer really doesn’t happen, is Fabregas.
Tell us what you think!