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A final few words on Cesc Fàbregas

After years of coveting, and consequently tapping up, our captain and best player, Barcelona finally have their man. The 15th of August 2011 will live long in the memory; it is undoubtedly one of those moments where people will remember where they were and what they were doing when they found out about it. Once Cesc passed the medical and signed on the dotted line there was almost an audible collective sigh of relief from people affected by this transfer. Supporters of the respective teams, journalists and general football lovers can now all move on. A transfer saga, completely unparalleled (both in duration and relentlessness) in the history of modern football, has finally come to its inevitable happy conclusion. But for me – and I suspect I’m far from alone here – there was an overwhelming and slightly surreal feeling of sadness. Even though we all knew it would happen I couldn’t help but feel devastated. Like a dear friend had moved away, never to return.

However, I’ll always remember him fondly and treasure the memories I have of him; his goals against Spurs, his inspiring performance away at Stoke after Aaron had his leg broken (those who say he wasn’t a good captain – take a look at that game one more time), the winner in the San Siro and the general quality of his play. Match after match, year after year. It’s been a privilege to watch him and I’m thankful for every one of his 303 appearances in an Arsenal shirt.

Sure, it’s hard to take that he’s now a part of our (largely unsuccessful) past, but I don’t begrudge him this move. We all know where he’s from, who he supported as a young boy and who the current best team in the world is. The answer to those three questions is Barcelona. Nevertheless, I think he’s behaved impeccably throughout this ordeal, because it could’ve been easy for him to submit a formal transfer request (Torres, Rooney, Tevez) and further complicate things for Arsenal by moaning. But he did none of this. His comments on Arsenal upon being unveiled as a Barcelona player simply highlighted the class he has. He loves Arsenal, our fans and our manager. I really do wish him well. I had to overlook the fact that I despise Barcelona enough to have made a voodoo doll of Busquets that I occasionally like to run over with a lawn mower in order to do it, but I wish him well. I hope you do too. The man deserves it.

Disturbing and slightly morbid pseudo-witchcraft aside, we’re now left with a gifted and talented team with a massive, gaping Cesc-shaped hole in the middle of it. He was more than just a good man, he was an exceptional footballer too. Stats show that Cesc has made the most assists in the top 5 European leagues over the last 5 seasons. More than Xavi, Iniesta or any of those pass virtuosos he is often compared to. If you keep in mind that he’s missed many games, arguably plays in a weaker team but in a stronger league and that he was a teenager 5 seasons ago it’s all the more astonishing. He creates by far the most goal scoring chances and to many outsiders he’s the symbol of our club. Our win percentage without him is half of what it is compared to when he plays. He’s the genius our side is built around; the very embodiment of Arsène Wengers project and philosophy. We cannot possibly buy a player to replace him.

So, we now find ourself pondering the question; How do you replace Fàbregas? Can we manage it? Of course we can. Many big players have left us – after 125 glorious years of history you’re bound to have a few examples – and yet we always move on. Brady, Overmars, Vieira, Henry. Nobody is bigger than Arsenal. When a team becomes too dependant on a single player it can inhibit the rest of the team, and they only reach their potential once that one outstanding individual departs. Manchester United replaced Ronaldo without buying a like for like replacement – the rest of the team upped their game and contributed with goals. Something similar happened to Arsenal when Henry left. Adebayor and Fàbregas, among others, stepped up then, and now I feel that we have the players to replace Cesc without paying exorbitant fees for a star player.

There will be no prizes for guessing who those aforementioned players are. Those players are Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Ramsey will improve the more he plays and Wilshere, given his tender years, will too – scarily enough. I think Wenger will eventually succumb to the cries of the masses and buy a player. We are a bit short in midfield, and for a supposedly creative team we do lack incisive passers. Cesc shouldered a disproportionate amount of the creative burden. But it’s of vital importance to nurture and develop those two and unleash them on the Premiership this season. They have the potential to not only form an outstanding partnership in midfield, but also, individually, become genuine world class players. They’re our future now and, I have to say, I can’t wait to experience it.

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Andrew
Andrew
9 years ago

Cesc was and is my favorite player wherever he goes. I’m half spanish so I follow him in the national team as well. His vision on the pitch is irreplaceable, what a footballer he is! Just as much class he shows on the pitch he also shows off of it. I too came into this transfer window thinking that I was ready for the blow of him leaving, but today I am FILLED with sadness from all of the memories and possibilities of the player. Carry on Arsenal and best wishes for FAB #4. But wait, I know of the… Read more »

nilo
nilo
9 years ago

don’t be silly. this is not a “remember where you were” moment. cesc achieved nothing at arsenal. we won f all with him as captain and he will be quickly forgotten. he is no adams or paddy and he leave arsenal as probably our worst ever captain. if he ever comes back to face arsenal he will not be afforded a hero’s welcome like henry and paddy. they were real hero’s and will never be forgotten. cesc who…

James Adide
James Adide
9 years ago

Excellent blog!
All I can say is that in the years that Arsenal have been selling players to top clubs, no player has ever left with the blessings and good will from Arsenal fans. Cesc deserves all the praise for the 8 years of pure football that he produced!
He will be missed, but we will move on! AFC is bigger than any one person!

Holm
Holm
9 years ago

I cant describe it better my self. Very good writing. AFC 4 LIFE from Sweden

FCBarca
FCBarca
9 years ago

Welcome to the middle of the pack

uzo charles
9 years ago

cesc ll not be remembered because of how he left without leading Arsenal to any major title throughout his 8yrs, he want bacer so do his legendry do like the femous story of troy about akilis since he couldn’t make him self a hero here he ll never be anywhere. Cesc You are gone from Arsenal so do your good thought

gunny
gunny
9 years ago

exactly, he was overhyped and a hindrence for other players. Long live Arsenal!

Gunzblazzin
Gunzblazzin
9 years ago

brilliant written article, im very sad also, he was an amazing player, not many players can dominate, create and control the midfielld the way he did it.

i really wanted this whole saga to end but now i feel really sad,i hope fabregas all the best on his future and thanks for all the wonderfull memories and peformances. UP GUNNERS

uzo charles
9 years ago

Cesc! We Arsenal fans down here in Nigeria want you out since the day you used the backpass to give barcalona winning i UCL. Know legendry status for you or what so ever for you.

TrueGooner
TrueGooner
9 years ago

I almost cried after the Real Madrid vs Barcelona match when I found out that Cesc was in Barcelona, then when I saw him complete his medical and be announced as a Barcelona player I felt horrible, it’s sad to see such a great footballer leave us but at the end of the day he was always going to go back to barca. Massive respect to cesc for everything he’s done for us and I wish him all the best at Barca. Let’s just hope that this makes Arsenal players hungry and give every match their all.

singapore-gooner
singapore-gooner
9 years ago

your article moved me.
it feels like a relative has passed on.

RedandDread
RedandDread
9 years ago

It’s attitudes and opinions like yours that add to the poisonous bile floating around our great club. How much did a true legend, Liam Brady win at Arsenal? One FA Cup maybe?

Gavin
Gavin
9 years ago

Dont know how I feel about him to be honest, the qoute about signing a new deal with Arsenal because Barca weren’t interested back in 06 was like being kicked in the nuts. That was our Captain basically saying he just bided his time til he got to leave. I wont wish him well but I wont wish bad luck on him either.

Time for us to move on now, I just hope Wenger pulls some top deals out of his magic hat in the next 2 weeks otherwise we will struggle this season for sure.

Gunzblazzin
Gunzblazzin
9 years ago

If people dont respect and admire what fabregas has done in 8 years at arsenal then sadly you guys are not real arsenal fans, its just a pity that he didnt win more things here. UP GUUNERS

Ben Sweeney
9 years ago

When Henry left all the media doom and gloom started and up stepped Cesc. I honestly don’t think he was a good captain a star player but not a true captain like Adams or Patrick V. It’s sad to see any player with his skill leave but life goes on what we need to do now is simple improve. I disagree with the idea of not buying a big money signing because Ramsey and Jack I think need another year to really shine. Arsenal need to strengthen the mid field and possibly buy another striker for RVP who I think… Read more »

ahsan
ahsan
9 years ago

lets n0t hav a very soft corner for him. If he was a true captain he would have stayed n deliverd tr0phies…n would’ve told barca to buzz off….bt he didnt….he has added to misries for arsenal…n0w whatever he says in interviews n stuff….those will b just words with no reality….he was br0ught up n made man at arsenal he owed arsenal too much…he is no where near a hero mark….n legend 4get ab0ut it….he wil b 4g0ten…n fans w0uld ask….cesc??…cesc who???
I cant wish him luck coz with in me i dont….he has ended thngs pathetically.

ahsan
ahsan
9 years ago

lets n0t hav a very soft corner for him. If he was a true captain he would have stayed n deliverd tr0phies…n would’ve told barca to buzz off….bt he didnt….he has added to misries for arsenal…n0w whatever he says in interviews n stuff….those will b just words with no reality….he was br0ught up n made man at arsenal he owed arsenal too much…8 years r n0thng…he is no where near a hero mark….n legend…4get ab0ut it….he wil b 4g0ten kuikly…n fans w0uld ask….cesc??…cesc who???
I cant wish him luck coz with in me i dont….he has ended thngs pathetically.

diehardgooner
diehardgooner
9 years ago

Farewell words for cesc : REST IN PEACE or REST IN BENCH

However,cesc was very-very-very overrated idk why everyone touted him as a really great player meanwhile I just not get to what those people pointing at

-arsenaltillidie-

diehardgooner
diehardgooner
9 years ago

Cesc will be useful as a benchwarmer anyway

sic
sic
9 years ago

About time…. Arsenal can finally move on. For me it’s a year late but club will be better for it. Someone will step up and seize opportunity. Nasri can leave too we don’t need nobody who doesn’t want to be at the club.

XX
XX
9 years ago

I CRIED THE DAY VIERA JOINED JUVE, I DID NOT EVEN BLINK WHEN I SAW PICTURES OF FABREGAS IN A BARCA SHIRT. FABREGAS DID NOT DESERVE TO WEAR THE # 4 SHIRT AFTER VIERA. GLAD WILSHERE WILL WEAR IT NOW. THE NUMBER 4 IS FOR LIONS THAT DRIVE THE ARSENAL FORWARD AND WIN TROPHIES NOT WIMPIES WHOSE GREATNESS IS REVEALED IN STATISTICS AND NOT TROPHIES WON.

Rowan
Rowan
9 years ago

@nilo: Complete dribble mate. The only reason that in some peoples eyes he is not a legend of the club is that Wenger failed to buy the appropriate players to surround him. If he had a Pires/Ljungberg running wide collecting his passes or a Viera playing beside him or a back four the likes of our invincible he would have been at the centre of a lot of trophy filled seasons at Arsenal. The only person to blame for a lack of silverware while Cesc was our key man is Wenger.

Oscar Ede
Oscar Ede
9 years ago

@Uzo Charles it would be better u talk for yourself and not Nigeria. I’m Nigerian and proud to say I thank cesc for the loyalty in 8yrs. There was even d game against Barca that he played with a strained ankle, what more should we ask of him. Never submitted a transfer request like Rooney or Tevez…was a gentle man all thru. Didn’t go for d money like Cashley cole and flamini… Infact he had a pay cut! Didn’t accept other clubs cos it was his boyhood clubs loyalty or Arsenal…even when other clubs offered higher. Jeez as sad as… Read more »

Gunzblazzin
Gunzblazzin
9 years ago

i admit t wasnt captain material but players like denilson around him didnt help, he was surounded by some jokers, do u blame him to leave, its the same reason why henry left, good players among jokers !!!, it just doesnt work like that, the best want to be amongst the best, kaka went to madrid, ronaldo went to madrid, NEYMAR will possibly go to madrid, why ????, because some of the best players in the world are there, what did you guys want fabregas to walk onto the pitch holding denilson and eboues hands, lol, u guys make laugh.… Read more »

Gunzblazzin
Gunzblazzin
9 years ago

its the same reason why nasri wants to leave, every year they keep bottling like babies, this team needs to grow up, grow some balls, people arnt just going to hand us trophies, we need to earn and fight to win those trophies, the sad thing is we dont have much fight in this team, not enough experience and know how, thats why fab left and nasri will leave to teams where they realisticaly can win things.

topgunste
topgunste
9 years ago

bye bye cesc looks like its time for Ramsey to step it up

abdul
9 years ago

Cesc chicken out. He never deserved to be captain our great and beloved club.He has nothing to offer at Barcelona.Barca has done all without him.He wants to hold a Trophy without sweat. He is opportunistic. If he was a doer he would have stayed to see his sinking ship stay afloat and gun down the opponents. Dont disgrace our beloved club by showering accolades on such confused and not committed players. If u have a wife, make a decision that I would divorce this woman come next year for a woman I now love more and see whether you will… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
9 years ago

Wow Chamakh was appalling and we need defenders urgently.

MothersMilk
MothersMilk
9 years ago

So the media’s on a witchhunt to disrupt the team it seems.And well a certain section of the supporters are fuelling the fire. Can you believe all that malark Sky “Sports” went through last night? First going out of their way to pointing out Wenger in the stands allegedly in communication with the bench (cannot be proven unless he admits it – & not like every other manager doesn’t find some way to pass on messages). Oh yeah, and rather than discuss the performance/match, in-depth, with Theo they decide instead to ask him about his comments on Fabio Capello being… Read more »

GunnerMacedonia
GunnerMacedonia
9 years ago

i thought of our formation for the return leg szchesney sagna-kos-new CB-vermaelen carl-song-wilshere-traore rvp-waclott strongly defensive side, we need that on the right to stop armero, i believe carl and sagna are more than able to do that. in the middle song and jack i think wil destroy opponents, with the possibility of jack creating chances and counter attacks. rvp to play just to bring 2-3 players on him, while theo is fast and could hurt them in counter attacks. perhaps not our style, but it could work if we dont want to tire our players much and yet get… Read more »

Kratik Malhotra
Kratik Malhotra
9 years ago

Today is Henry’s birthday. It’s nowhere been mentioned.
http://www.goal.com/en-india/news/2292/editorials/2011/08/17/2623488/goalcom-special-happy-birthday-thierry-henry
Cheers 🙂
Kratik

Marty Price
9 years ago

Listen Cesc is gone, all this talk of him being on the bench is rubbish. Barsa got a world class player cheap. Xavi, Iniesta, Alcantara all of them will have a tough time keeping him on the bench. I wish him well, am sorry he is gone, but can they now buy a defender please? Another striker…I mean they do not have to do like City and get an Aguero…but come on there was no firepower there yesterday. No Song for the next three matches is bad…who will step up for him?

GunnerMacedonia
GunnerMacedonia
9 years ago

@Marty Price: that would be frimpong

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