It’s been well over two months now and Cesc Fabregas’ prolonged transfer saga with his boy-hood club, Barcelona continues to linger on. The Cescapade, as I like to call it, began a little over a month ago (somewhere in the mid of May, if I’m not mistaken) when the Arsenal captain spoke of his desire to move to Barcelona. He said,
“If I leave Arsenal, it is to play at Barca”
The first part of the sentence probably didn’t have as much of an impact on the Gooner Community as did the final 3 words: “Play at Barca”. Come to think of it, this is probably what ticked off Arsenal fans the most. (I don’t think they really ever forgave us for taking Henry a few seasons back). Anyway, this single sentence caused an uproar in North London and a day later Fabregas reiterated that he would like his future resolved before the World Cup began (that clearly hasn’t been done yet).
Over the course of the next few weeks, the transfer saga began to take rollercoaster-esque rises that promised something of sorts to materialise, only to be followed by a 90 degree plummet back to ground zero (I did say it was a rollercoaster, didn’t I?). Fabregas even reportedly flew back to London, where he had an emotional face-to-face meeting with Arsene Wenger regarding his future at Arsenal. He mentioned his wish to leave The Gunners for Barcelona and even though Wenger tried to convince him to stay another season, he was adamant, saying that he had already made his decision. He did however say that he was in no rush to leave and only wanted his future sorted out before the World Cup Finals began in June, so that he could fully concentrate on the job at hand.
Later on, as the saga progressed, various players came out with their own views. Xavi, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique as well as Carlos Vela proffessed they thought that Cesc would move to Barca. However, others such as Robert Pires and Alexander Hleb stated that Arsenal wouldn’t and shouldn’t allow their talismanic skipper to leave. Cesc’s dad even jumped in, saying that Arsenal should respect the will of his son and speedily complete the transfer.
Then, on the 2nd of June Barcelona’s director general, Joan Oliver revealed “a serious offer” had been made to Arsenal to acquire Cesc’s services. Arsenal however, quickly rejected this bid and said they had no intention of selling one of their prized assets. This did not end the matter and rumours began to circulate that Fabregas was beginning to search for legal loopholes that may allow him to leave Arsenal. This included invoking the ‘Webster Ruling’ which stated that any player who signed a contract before the age of 28 could buy out the remaining years left on it- provided he had served a majority of the contract.
The Cescapade continued as Arsenal repeatedly rejected Barcelona offers for their captain; the Catalans too insisting that they wouldn’t pay a cent above what they could for the player and that it was a fair assessment.(We can be pretty stubborn too, eh?). Soon though, the petty squabbles between the two clubs had to take a back-seat as the World Cup began. Things remained relatively quiet on the transfer scene until late June, when Fabregas admitted to a Spanish Radio Station that Pep Guardiola, Barca’s coach, had been his idol ever since he had been a child. The Rumour Mills began to churn once more and more bogus headlines kept arising that the deal had already been completed.
These rumours began to die down once again however, as Fabregas stated that he was ‘proud to be a gunner’ as Spain claimed their first ever World Cup. Fabregas provided Andres Iniesta with an assist to score in the Final. It looked as things had finally reached an end as Fabregas swore his allegiance to the Gooner Community after achieving (arguably) what will be the pinnacle of his career. But then again, during Spain’s World Cup celebrations, something happened that shook the whole of North London. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words(a video must be worth something like a G-jillion words then, I guess). So take a look
What you just saw was nothing short of a mutiny of epic proportions, if you’re a gooner that is. Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol forced a Barca shirt on to Cesc Fabregas during the Spanish World Cup celebrations before Pepe Reina took him under him under his arm and proclaimed him to be,
“The future of Barcelona, the future of Spain!”
This has again put us at the start of a vicious, never ending cycle of rumours, gooner conspiracy theories and what not. The question is, when will it all end?
-Zain R. Mian
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