So, it’s damn near official now – Fabregas wants to leave Arsenal for Barcelona.
Arsenal fans will say they saw it coming miles away (it’s by far the longest-running transfer rumour in English football), he’s got the whole ‘back to hometown club’ story neatly packaged and doing the rounds in the media, and Barcelona have the means to match Arsenal’s demands.
But underneath the airbrushed story, there’s a fundamental truth behind Fabregas’ desire to move to Barcelona: success.
The bottom line is that Fabregas wants to leave Arsenal for a bigger club, for more money and for more titles. The whole talk about ‘wanting to go home’? Just perpetuating the myth that Catalan identity counts more than any other familial or social roots a young player might have with his hometown.
You don’t see Torres making noises to return to Atletico, do you? When was the last time Messi said he wanted to go back to Argentina? What about Rooney’s return to Everton?
The move to Barcelona only makes sense to Fabregas because he knows it’s a bigger club than Arsenal, because he knows he’s more likely to win titles there (have you looked at Henry’s trophy cabinet since he moved to Spain?), and at the end of the day, the money would be nice too.
The fact that he can command a starting place in that lineup (eventually, or even right away if Iniesta moves to the left wing) is an added advantage.
Sure, he could go to Madrid, but Barcelona is easier – there’s a stable environment, the homegrown element gives him a free pass from Arsenal fans and helps him maintain his reputation, and of course, the homecoming fantasy is best when it comes true.
Big players don’t leave for their hometown clubs at (or before) the peak of their careers unless it’s an upwards move. In fact, the best players tend to leave their hometown clubs to go the big clubs for a chance to win titles, make money and so on.
Fabregas isn’t Mascherano or Tevez – he’s well-settled in London – and he’s definitely not moving just for the money, otherwise City or a Russian club would have come for him sometime ago.
He is, however, interested in winning titles, and making the most of his career as a footballer. The fact that Barcelona offers him a safe cover story to do this under is just a bonus.