I’m certain that I wasn’t the only Arsenal supporter who felt a little uncomfortable upon hearing the news that Fábregas had been talking to the Spanish press about Arsenal, and in particular Wenger’s youth policy, and left his otherwise ever-present praise for every imaginable thing regarding Arsenal and our precious boss; everything from the way Arsene likes his coffee, to our dressing room’s interior to the cotton content of the Match Kit socks, at home in London.
I have a good friend that happens to be a Barcelona supporter and the poor fellow reviews the torrent of news circulating the web as graciously as an elephant showers so it was rather inevitable that I would be on the receiving end of some stinging stick and critique filled with malicious satisfaction when Fábregas statements became common knowledege. I kept my cool and calmly reminded him that the circumstances of the interview were not revealed (I suspected the quotes were taken completely out of context and that the reporter kept coming with leading questions, eagerly misinterpretating anything Cesc might say) and that a person blessed with more than 2 working brain cells would not read too much into those quotes. And then I bet my life on it. Not that calmly anymore. And, like a well-oiled machine, Fábregas, now safely resting in North London, where his face is as far away from Belgian elbows and other limbs that may flap uncomfortably as possible, once again reassured us Gooners that what has been written isn’t entirely true. Looks like I live to see yet another day as Arsenal supporters worldwide breathe out in a record breaking (in terms of length) sigh of relief. Go check the Official website if you haven’t already. The apology (if that’s what its’ supposed to be thought of as) almost seems too good to be true, almost – dare I say it? – forced, seeing as he hits all the spots that were left sore after his previous statements; Nasri, Walcott and Denilson – players who were all mentioned by him – are now all great players. Which, I guess, is true, but the only reason I see for Cesc being this elaborate is that he didn’t realize how big of an impact his words had back in England.
And that’s good. He is the last of a dying breed in modern football. Not many players stay loyal to their clubs and treat their fans with such respect as he does. Long may this beautiful partnership between him and Arsenal continue.
Because Fábregas importance to the team cannot be overestimated. It cannot be done. He is more than just the heartbeat of our game, because we can actually do without him for the odd game, even against tough opposition – he is also the talisman of our entire generation; our beloved knight in shining armor, the embodiment that gives concrete, physical form to the abstract beauty of Wenger’s philosophy. A blow to the sky of that philosophy by its’ most shining star would perhaps be more than it could withstand.
But is it really all doom and gloom? Is there no one to occupate the potential void Fábregas might some day leave behind besides Denilson? As always Wenger has the answer waiting in the wings.
Aaron Ramsey is, in my opinion, the true heir of Fábregas if he ever decides to depart. I watched him dissect the English U-21 side with a performance that was brilliant in every sense of the word. Superlatives like that are often thrown around carelessly today, by newspapers and persons, most notably Theo Walcott who probably would even describe Wayne Rooney’s new haircut as ‘brilliant’, so that they inevitably lose a bit of their meaning. But what Ramsey created on Villa Park was brilliance. That cheeky assist and wonderful goal didn’t hurt either. Our little 17 year old looked head and shoulders above everybody else and then the players he was up against had Premier League experience in abundance. Players like Agbonlahor, Milner, Noble and Huddlestone were all given starting positions for England. Although, admittedly, Huddlestone isn’t alot to cheer for. But we nonetheless have another truly gifted gem in our squad, because I cannot see any notable difference between Ramsey’s display against England and what Fábregas could produce at the same age; it looked just like the way I saw Cesc dictate Spain’s midfield for the Under 21’s at the same tender age. Stuart Pearce even admitted that Ramsey forced him to make a pre half time substition in central midfield to neutralize the threat and problems he was causing all by himself.
Now, the reason that we currently possess the best midfielder on the planet (talking about Cesc now) is that he was allowed to play regular first team football in an overall great team from a young age. That does wonders to a hot prospect. When Patrick left for Juventus Fábregas stepped up and grabbed the chance handed to him by Wenger with both hands and he didn’t look back. It’s easily forgiven to be a little one-sided here and say that it was a comfortable walk in the park for him at that age and that he could do, like he does now, exactly whatever he pleases against Premier League opposition, but that’s not completely true. Anyone, even a Sp*rs fan, could see that he was going to be absolutely stunning in a not at all distant future, but he did have a few below-par performances. And that’s why I no longer fear Fábregas increasingly imminent departure; Ramsey is good enough to do what Cesc has done. I don’t think Cesc will leave before his contract runs out – thankfully – in quite a few years from now, but if he does we’ve got it covered. And it isn’t Denilson or Song that I want to see in Cesc’s shoes – it’s that little Welsh wonderkid. Because once he gets some minutes under his belt – minutes that doesn’t mean playing in the Carling Cup – he will become one of the best midfielders in the world. And that’s beyond even a shadow of a doubt. If you have any objections you could just ask Lee Cattermole. He is presumably hospitalized due to severe mental distress and humiliation.
Denilson is, at least among Arsenal fans, a greatly underestimated player that has bags of potential – some of which he is currently fulfilling, something that 2 goals and 3 assists along with an outstanding passing accuracy – granted, not all of the passes are defence splitting – testifies, but somehow it is being overlooked by a majority of our loyal followers. But Ramsey is to be considered in a bracket of players where only a handful have the honor of belonging. Manchester United are rarely after youngsters – at least not to the extent where they can be considered in the same wavelength of Arsenal, but they were after him for a reason. We should all sit down in circles, hold hands and thank the footballing Gods, including Wenger, that the winds of fortune blows in our favour. Defences all over the world will tremble upon merely hearing his name being spoken out loud. Pretty much like Voldemort for Harry Potterish people or Fábregas for the Yids. I say give Ramsey a decent run out in the team. Perhaps we should wait and not play him now against Everton or away to Fener seeing as too many changes could disrupt the natural harmony of the team now that important mainstays such as Sagna and Gallas are out injured, but as soon as the queue to the treatment table dissipates I think he should be given an honest chance to prove himself. Because, after all, we would all like another Cesc in our team.
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