Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. It is, predictably, on everybody's lips. Seemingly every man, woman, and child with any interest in football has an opinion on the matter. Football writers and pundits are writing story after story, rehashing the same points over and over again.
If one were to spend even just 15 minutes reading the speculation, he would assume that Fabregas was already signed, sealed, and delivered to Barcelona. Yet, is he? First, a look at what is actually known about the perspectives of Arsenal, Barcelona, and Fabregas.
Clearly, Arsenal wants to hold on to Fabregas. He is their captain, their talisman, and he exemplifies the philosophy of the club more than any other player. However, if they do indeed sell him, they will surely drive the fee up and up.
Barcelona are a little bit harder to read. On the one hand, they seem to be desperate to sign him, given some of the news stories out. At the same time, they have, apparently, not yet made a formal approach for him. There is little doubt that Barcelona would like to sign Fabregas, but are they truly as desperate as it appears?
When it comes to Fabregas, there are only a handful of facts. He is Arsenal's captain, he loves Arsenal, is under a long-term contract there, and will one day return to Barcelona. Further, he has recently said that he wants his future sorted out before the World Cup.
When you cut through all of the speculation, that is what you are left with. Quite how that translates to the hysteria that Fabregas is certainly moving to Barcelona this summer is a puzzle that will surely keep philosophers busy for eons. Regardless, it is high time that somebody looks at the situation logically.
Some papers are reporting that all that is required for the transfer to go through is an agreement on the fee. Unfortunately, it does not appear that anybody has explained to these writers just how a transfer works. The fee is far from a small detail. Agreeing a fee, particularly when Barcelona have already spent millions on Villa, is quite possibly the most difficult part of the transfer.
Further, somebody seems to be forgetting that, in fact, Arsenal does not have to sell Fabregas. Time and again writers have asserted that, in the modern era, if a footballer wishes to leave a club, they cannot stop him. While this might be true in some cases, it most certainly is not here.
When Joleon Lescott decided he wanted to leave Everton, they at first refused. They were only forced to sell when he decided to act like a petulant child, sitting down with his arms crossed and scowling at anybody who came near him. Once Everton saw that he would be worthless to them if they kept him, they sold him to Manchester City.
It is hard to imagine Fabregas doing something similar. Admittedly, we know very little about Fabregas as a man, but from what glimpses we have seen, his character appears to be sterling. If Arsenal informed him that he would not be sold to Barcelona, what would be his reaction?
If he truly wanted to go, then surely he would be disappointed, but he has always carried himself as a professional. It is hard to imagine him not continuing to fight for the club.
So, in the end, what we have is still nothing but speculation. This is not to say that Fabregas is staying at Arsenal. It is also not to say that he will move. But please, let's stop the silliness and realize that the papers are reporting nothing but the fantasies of some sad, old men seeking to sell papers.