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Arsenal’s season had started with such promise. The free scoring Gunners had the added advantage of being maturer than they had been in the past and in many games put up a fight when the going got tough. Unfortunately, the season ended in the same fashion as the last, in disappointment. Arsenal were unlucky enough to have drawn Barcelona in the Champions League knock-out stages and were given a master-class in football by the La Liga Champions in their 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp. Just like their Champions League dream died, Arsenal’s title ambitions also fizzled out leaving them third on the league table behind champions Chelsea and second place, Manchester United.
With the north London club failing to add to their trophy cabinet this season, fans must have felt that the worst disappointments of the season were behind them. Unfortunately, the the final blow was to be dealt by their captain Cesc Fabregas who told his father figure and mentor Arsene Wenger in a face-to-face meeting that he wants to quit Arsenal and rejoin Barcelona. Cesc had joined Arsenal as a 16-year old from Barcelona’s youth teams where he had played alongside Lionel Messi and has enjoyed the privilege of captaincy and a demi-god status at Arsenal.
It couldn’t have been easy for the mid-fielder to tell the man he feels he owes his career to that he no longer wanted to stay at the club. A decision that stems, it seems from the fear of losing out on the higher accolades since Arsenal haven’t come any closer to winning in Europe or in the domestic league in the last few seasons. Barcelona on the other hand are a team on fire. They are the reigning La Liga champions and Champions League winners (till March 28). Barcelona’s manager Pep Guardiola has already proven that his success in his first season at the club was not a fluke and that he knows how to build a champion team.
Arsene Wenger, it is believed, took the news calmly and asked the 23-year old Spaniard to stay for one more season but Fabregas has his heart set on returning home to Barcelona this summer. It is believed that Barcelona would be willing to offer £30m for Fabregas who was signed for nothing by Arsenal in 2003. Arsenal however, would be looking for more than £40m for the player who they consider irreplaceble and undoubtedly one of the world’s best midfielders. Reports from Barcelona have also suggested that Yaya Touré could be used as a makeweight in the deal.
Fabregas has already said that he wants his future decided before the World Cup and unfortunately for Arsenal fans, it it seems that his belief Arsene Wenger’s vision has suffered a few knocks over the years while his belief in Pep Guardiola’s ability to win silverware is minty fresh.