7 Solid Reasons Why Arsenal Should Sign Cesc Fabregas
He or she is a fool who swallows every transfer morsel daily whipped up by tabloids and dubious websites that concoct transfer rumors for seemingly no reason than for the traffic and the fun of it.
David Ornstein of the BBC reports:
Arsenal have informed Barcelona they will not be exercising a buy-back option on former player Cesc Fabregas. It is understood Fabregas, 27, was keen to return to Arsenal but manager Arsene Wenger is not looking to recruit a creative midfielder.
As an Arsenal fan and a supporter of Arsene Wenger, I am convinced that allowing Fabregas to join Chelsea would be a huge mistake for the club and for Wenger, akin to Chelsea's mistake in allowing Daniel Sturridge to join Liverpool.
I advance seven reasons why Arsenal shouldn't let this happen, and why they themselves should reverse their decision and sign Fabregas.
He Is the Best Quick-Switch Player in Europe
Deciding against signing Fabregas cannot be because Arsene Wenger is unaware of the world-class quality of the player. After all, he worked with Fabregas for many years at Arsenal.
To say that he won't sign Fabregas because that would create an overload of creative players at the club is to display shortsightedness, lack of guile and lack of imagination. But more on this in the following.
One very persuasive reason why Arsenal should re-sign Fabregas is because he is the best quick-switch midfielder in all of Europe.
What is quick-switch?
A quick-switch player is one who advances play so quickly that the opponent is taken by surprise, having had no time to reorganize its defensive shape. This player has uncanny vision and sees a pass, often long-range, where others don't.
Such a player enables the team to create chances seemingly out of nothing. He helps a team to turn over a large percentage of goals and chances. In the case of Fabregas, this helps explain why Arsenal (even in their barren seasons) used to create and score a great number of goals even as they were defensively fragile.
Diego Forlan (to give an example) tends to do this for Uruguay.
The Uruguay national team advanced far in the 2010 World Cup largely due to Forlan's influence, who often executed pinpoint passes that advanced his team's attack very quickly.
Andrea Pirlo would be another example but he now operates very deep and is not as effective in terms of quickly advancing an attacking play.
Now the reader may wonder whether this isn't exactly what Mesut Ozil brings to Arsenal. Does he not possess the same quality and vision?
It may be.
But to me they are two different players (to state the obvious). To essentialize and oversimplify, it seems to me that Ozil is dominantly what I'd call a "floor-passer": that is, his passes are mostly low, on-the-ground passes (defense-splitting, granted).
Fabregas, meanwhile, seems to be dominantly an over-the-top passer—he tends to loop the ball over the last defensive line of the opposition.
But like I said, this may be an oversimplification. It does not mean that Ozil never passes over the top or that Fabregas never passes on the floor.
In terms of quick-switch itself, I'd say the person who does this for the current Arsenal team isn't even Ozil. It is Tomas Rosicky. Whereas Ozil is bound to find the final pass, he is not as adept at switching play so quickly from defense to attack as Rosicky is.
On this point one might say Ozil is a finisher (in terms of completing an attacking move) while Rosicky is an initiator. If the reader grasps this distinction, then he or she can discern the contrast between Ozil and Fabregas which I have attempted to draw in the above.
Thus, Fabregas is a very potent initiator of an attack in a way that Ozil is not. Furthermore, Fabregas is a better finisher than Ozil. Moreover, Fabregas can do what Ozil does so well.
In essence, adding Fabregas to the squad will not be a multiplication of essences but an addition of a complementary quality, a diversification that'll enable Arsenal to be more prolific and fertile in its attack.
Moreover, on the point of being a potent initiator (quick-switch, that is), the fact that Rosicky may not have very many years left at Arsenal is all the more reason why Arsenal should sign Fabregas specifically for this role. If Rosicky can play with Ozil, why not Fabregas? Or if Rosicky is at Arsenal in spite of Ozil, why not Fabregas?
In any case, signing Fabregas will never be a loss or a mistake for Arsenal. It can only be an addition, a strengthening of the squad. This is why I believe it is quite foolish to let Chelsea have him.
He Already Understands the Arsenal Way of Playing
Consider the following:
Fabregas was groomed by Wenger for eight years, having joined Arsenal from Barcelona at the age of 16 in 2003. So whatever style Arsenal plays (and Wenger insists that there is), Fabregas is privy to it.
In fact, when Fabregas returned to Barcelona in 2011, Pep Guardiola complained of Fabregas' anarchic English style, referring to the more direct and flexible English style as opposed to Barcelona's preferred patient possession. (See this article by Michael Cox.)
Someone might say that to sign Fabregas will be to overload Arsenal's midfield. I do not see it that way.
Firstly, at Euro 2012 Fabregas played an advanced (false-nine) role for Spain in their so-called 4-6-0 formation. So there's no reason why he couldn't play such a role for Arsenal in selected and specific matches. What this would bring to Arsenal is more formational and structural flexibility.
A diamond formation would, in fact, allow Wenger to incorporate Fabregas with other top midfielders like Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta.
Heuristically, this might involve Carl Jenkinson (or the new right-back), Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs forming the back four; Arteta at the base of midfield, Ozil and Ramsey as pivots in the middle and Fabregas at the forward tip of the diamond; and Cazorla high left and Theo Walcott high right and furthest forward.
Moreover, Fabregas and Ozil can easily switch roles.
Secondly, what the foregoing indicates or suggests is that Wenger will be able to rotate his midfielders from game to game (as the circumstance and the particular opponent dictates) without sacrificing quality.
Thus, Fabregas will not only be able to play in a midfield diamond, but also in the place of either Cazorla, Ozil or Ramsey without the team losing strength and quality; or with Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Rosicky, as the case may be.
Lack of quality and depth cost Arsenal a title they easily could have won in the past season.
Compared to Arsenal's direct rivals, Arsenal were the team that lacked qualitative options and depth. So when the going became tough, the weakness reared up quite strongly, causing them to crumble and surrender the chance of winning a title that seemed to invite them to win.
Thirdly, to say that for formational reasons Arsenal don't need Fabregas only shows Wenger's rigidity or waning imagination.
If one looks at Barcelona, one sees that they are able to utilize their players in various combinations. Liverpool did the same in the past season with devastating effect.
Wenger's rigidity shows, for example, in the fact that he has been unable to adapt Thomas Vermaelen to a different position apart from using him sporadically as a left-back, whereas he could easily play in front of the back four in less demanding matches (while he adapts to this position) like Javier Mascherano does for Argentina despite being played primarily as a center-back at Barcelona.
Would Fabregas not be an addition to Arsenal in terms of quality and asset? I see no reason why he wouldn't.
He is a flexible player who can play as a pivot in the midfield (the quick-switch discussed above) and at the tip of midfield as discussed in this slide.
Therefore, there is no reason why Arsenal shouldn't buy him back.
He Is Loyal to Arsenal and Like Thierry Henry Is a Fan at Heart
Fabregas left Arsenal for Barcelona to fulfill a childhood dream of playing for the club, making financial sacrifice to facilitate the move. Only a few can blame him for wanting to fulfill such a dream or fail to sympathize with a sentiment like this.
Like Thierry Henry, he has remained a fan of Arsenal, even stating publicly that if he left Barcelona it'd be for Arsenal.
It is understood that he'd love even now to return to Arsenal. (Refer to the first slide.) If Arsenal could re-sign an older and less vibrant Henry (and for just a few weeks), why not Fabregas who is still at the peak of his ability?
Wenger's vision was to groom young players like Fabregas, Walcott, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie so they could mature together and then challenge and win titles. The vision fell apart because of Arab and oligarch money infused to middling clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.
One could argue that Fabregas (as Arsenal's captain) betrayed that dream and as such does not get to return to the club.
Such a conclusion is foolish.
It isn't Arsenal who would be doing Fabregas a favor but the other way round.
Star players give a club an extra lift, and apart from Ozil's signing last summer, Arsenal haven't had this kind of lift in recent seasons. Without it, they'll continue to compete only for the fourth place rather than for the title.
Fabregas will give the players and the fans a lift. Arsenal should sign him.
He Will Give Arsenal 4 Solid Years
Someone might object (in relation to the idea of quick-switch in the first slide) that if Tomas Rosicky is already a quick-switch player for Arsenal, why would they need to sign another one?
Firstly, Rosicky is unlikely to give Arsenal four or more years. Fabregas will. Rosicky does not start consistently for Arsenal. Fabregas will. Rosicky is at the twilight of his career (in terms of age). Fabregas is not.
Secondly, Chelsea and Manchester City sign quality players who cannot always start together and yet see fit to do so because it allows the team to maintain consistency throughout the exerting demand of a long season. Why shouldn't Arsenal do the same?
Wenger seems now to be addicted to the idea of signing young players, but Arsenal are at a point where they can no longer wait a decade to win the league. The time is now. So while the idea and concept of young players is good, it must be complemented by matured, ready players.
If it is true Arsenal now have money to spend, then they must supplement the idea of young, cheap players with matured players like Fabregas. If they intend to save money by not signing Fabregas, they betray their assertion.
Fabregas will give Arsenal four years or more. They should sign him.
It Will Improve Fans' Sentiment and Goodwill Towards Wenger and Gazidis
Maybe Ivan Gazidis does not care about the thinking or the feeling of the fans. Maybe even Stan Kroenke and Wenger themselves don't care either.
Maybe fans are a deluded bunch, addicted to their fanatic impulse so much so that they cannot but follow along with any decision the hierarchy makes, so that consulting and listening to them is essentially silly when it comes down to it.
But it is hard to think that a club possesses any true meaning without the fans.
It seems that the atmosphere in the huge temples, called stadiums, cannot be possible without the fans. Although, of course, in this day and age there is little that technology could not generate. But what semblance does not possess is the zest of the real thing.
In any case, to dismiss the fans as irrelevant is to be brazenly arrogant and perhaps to be clearly out of touch with reality. Although if you are the Abu Dhabi United Group or Abramovich, infusing cash to your club as it appeals to your fancy, you can very much do whatever you like, fans be damned.
But Arsenal have always insisted that they are not that kind of a club. If so, then the goodwill of the fans must matter.
In the last two seasons this goodwill has not been solidly with Wenger because of the trophy drought of the last nine years.
Yes, Arsenal have now finally won a trophy. Yes, Wenger has signed a new three-year contract. But does that guarantee the fans' unquestioning support and goodwill? I doubt it.
In the case of Cesc Fabregas, the majority of Arsenal fans clearly want him back. If their opinions matter, the club should be looking to bring him back from Barcelona now that it seems clear that he is free to leave the club.
Does this mean that fans must always make decisions for the club? No. Leaders are chosen or appointed to make decisions. Yet fans' sentiment and goodwill cannot entirely be disregarded.
There are situations in which mass sentiment is merely a herd instinct that lacks any rational grounding. I do not think this is true in the case of Fabregas. I believe the first four reasons advanced here for bringing him back are solid and cogent.
I also believe that this one is cogent too.
Wenger and Gazidis need the fans. Therefore, they may like to hear them just a little bit. I do not think that Arsenal fans will be pleased to see Fabregas in Chelsea colors, especially since Arsenal are in pole position to sign him.
It'd be like a great treachery and betrayal. It'd also be like robbing yourself and paying your enemy or rival, but I will address this in the next slide.
Now that Arsenal have finally won something, it is time to build on this and aspire higher. You cannot do this by being tentative and passing up good opportunities to sign solid players.
I'd rather have Fabregas than any of the second-rate players Arsenal are being linked with, players like Loic Remy and Wilfried Bony. If Arsenal really hopes to add world-class quality to their squad, I do not see what these two players will bring to the club in this particular dimension.
Again, sign Fabregas. If Bony and Remy are Arsenal's choice for strikers, causing Arsenal to forgo Fabregas, then there's little hope for the club.
It Will Deprive Arsenal's Direct Rivals from Signing Hiim
What Chelsea did to Tottenham Hotspur in the case of Willian last season shows that they will do whatever it takes to deprive its opponents and rivals of any advantage and competitive chances.
Having done a similar thing to Arsenal in the case of Demba Ba in the January 2013 transfer window, it clear that Chelsea can do anything to frustrate their rivals.
It is the same reason why they are buying young players left and right (even though they do not really need them), sending them on loan and then selling them at a profit. Meanwhile this deprives their rivals (such as Arsenal, who like young players, and now Liverpool) of the chance of signing them.
What do Arsenal do? They are so tepid in the market that a recent cartoon depicted them taking pictures of transfer jostling and tussling, instead of competing for the players themselves.
In December to March, when the going gets tough in the season, Wenger will be looking harassed, stressed and haggard again when the team starts to fall apart in the face of the stiff challenges.
Why? Because in the transfer season, he thinks his inferior squad (in terms of depth and world-class quality) can compete with rivals whose squads are clearly superior. And then, bang! It turns out (again!) that they cannot.
And one begins to think: why didn't he take the opportunity to patch up the deficiencies? And then, of course, the big player would begin to want out.
Is there money? Are Arsenal on a stronger footing now, as asserted by Gazidis? Then they should go for the world-class players.
If Gazidis or Wenger said that the club would forgo Fabregas because they are pursuing Diego Costa (for example) for the precise reason that he will add great quality to the team and also because this would prevent Chelsea from having the player, I doubt that the fans would mind this reasoning.
If they point to Ozil as evidence of their competitiveness, one would have to say no. That happened more through sheer good fortune than any strategic plan on their part.
As long as Fabregas is coming to the Premier League and not to Arsenal, it'll be a slap to the face. Arsenal's naivete and lack of guile in this dimension is quite worrying and has to change if the club hopes to build on its recent success and overall consistency.
It Wouldn't Stop Them from Signing Players for the Other Areas of Need
"Nonsense," says one. "What Arsenal really need is a striker, a right-back and a holding midfielder."
But if Fabregas comes to Arsenal, the team (with Arteta and Mathieu Flamini) can survive another season without a holding midfielder.
Plus, my opinion is that Vermaelen can be successfully (if gradually) converted to that role.
How aggressively are the Gunners pursuing right-back Serge Aurier? If their tepid approach to the transfer market in the last few seasons is anything to go by, perhaps not aggressively enough. How much is he going to cost? Seven, ten million pounds? Then clearly he is not the one to prevent Arsenal from signing Fabregas.
A backup goalkeeper? How much is a backup going to cost?
If Fabregas comes to Arsenal, then I can understand Remy or Bony. But neither should prevent Arsenal from signing Fabregas.
To my mind, if Arsenal really want, they can achieve their other targets without sacrificing Fabregas to direct rivals. As a fan, I'll really be cross if this happens.
Aggression, guile and cunning is what I'd like to see from Arsenal when it comes to transfers. I want to see the club become the top dog in England instead of the quivering cat it becomes when it faces the big guns.