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The Fabregas Dilemma



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If James Milner is worth 30 million pounds, Cesc Fabregas is worth 100, so Arsenal’s reluctance to do business with Barcelona is understandable, with the Catalans making an offer well below a fair evaluation.

Arsenal’s refusal is also dangerous.

They have previous in this regard. The constant talk of Patrick Vieira’s departure while he was captain of the club took a clear toll on his form. By the time he finally left for Juventus in 2005, he was only showing sporadic flashes of the class that was once his calling card.

When Thierry Henry decided to stay on in 2006 rather than join Barcelona, his last season turned out to be a disappointing one, as he struggled for fitness and form.

When someone is unsure of their sense of belonging to a club, of their own desire to be there, it is unrealistic to expect them to perform at optimum level. Fans will talk romantically of a glorious final season, but Fabregas may feel a sense of bitterness about having to hang around and play alongside players who have nothing close to his ability or status. This works both ways; if the fans see, or think they see, his commitment dropping, they will grow bitter too.

If Arsene Wenger cannot surround Fabregas with the team mates he deserves, maybe now would be the time to sell the Spaniard and buy three or four players who will make the team a stronger collective. But if Barcelona are unable to pay a fair price for a player with years left to run on his current contract, there is little Wenger and Arsenal can do but wait, and hope.