Growing up, I supported Liverpool from the age of 5 years old. I came to support Barcelona when I was slightly older (the local South African cable only got a license for La Liga a little later). I laugh with these teams and cry with these teams. When Michael Owen transferred to Real Madrid, I wasn’t happy to say the least. Years later when he announced his signing for our bitter rivals Manchester United I was utterly disgusted (read my article: Michael Owen: a Fallen Idol). When Fernando Torres transferred to Chelsea, I had similar feelings. I know this is silly, players move from club to club, but as a fan you come to expect from the players the same sort of loyalty you show to your club. After all, you stick with your club no matter what, why shouldn’t the they? (And they’re getting paid handsomely too!) I guess in this game, money does talk. But still, there is a certain amount of decorum you expect especially when the said footballer has been groomed and “raised” by your club.
I have been following what I like to call “The Cesc Saga” for years now. A few years back, when Fabregas was still with Arsenal (their captain in fact), Barca started to pursue him. I was all for “bringing Cesc home.” Rumours ran for over two seasons about whether he was coming or staying. Then there was that whole incident during World Cup 2010 celebrations when Pepe Reina forced a Barcelona jersey on Fabregas, while he was still an Arsenal player. Yes, I wanted him back with the rest of the Cantera class of ’87, hell, I wanted him at Barca as much as Pique did. But he was still an Arsenal player, and my opinion is that it was extremely unprofessional of him to allow that to happen. Fact is, he stayed an Arsenal player for one whole season more. One whole season in which there were constant rumours about him wanting to leave, him handing in his resignation, him not being happy. Then in 2011 at first chance he got, he bailed on the club and manager who showed faith in him as a 16 year old
(to return to the club who didn’t want him as a youth). Yes, at the time I rejoiced for the arrival of Cesc. He was our future. He was to take over the baton when Xavi and Iniesta were retired. But if I was an Arsenal fan, I probably would have felt how I did when Torres bailed on Liverpool.
So he returned to Barcelona and by most standards, he did well. But I’m not here to discuss his time at Barca. Whether he is being unfairly let go or not is a whole other blog post in itself. But if the rumours are to be believed, he’s for sale. Then rumours started doing their rounds again (why is it never simple in the case of Cesc Fabregas?) Is he moving to Liverpool? Is he moving back to Arsenal (who have first option on him)? The most horrifying of them all was when Chelsea came into the mix.
There has been no done deal. The transfer window is yet to open, but if Fabregas does leave for Chelsea, it will be a pretty lousy thing to do to his Arsenal fans. Not because they want him back, in fact, most Arsenal fans I’ve spoken to say there’s no place for him anymore with Ozil in the team. But again, there’s a certain decorum that is expected of former club captains. Its like Steven Gerrard one day playing for Manchester United. Or Iker Casillas signing for Barcelona. You get the idea. Now, I’m not being naive by thinking he has full say over his future, but if rumours are to be believed Manchester United has offered a competitive amount for him. If he does cop out for a few hundred thousand a year, I must say, I will lose respect for him. I think it will be alright for him to transfer to anywhere, but just not to Arsenal’s London rivals.
I think Piers Moragn (a self proclaimed Arsenal fan) summed up how Arsenal fans felt when he tweeted:
DON’T DO IT @cesc4official
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 4, 2014