By Chris Wright
Arsenal made it through a summer which began with near-constant rumour-mongering, soon moved onto flagrant tapping-up and then culminated in a reported £35 million from Barcelona, somehow still being able to number Cesc Fabregas as one of their own.
The Arsenal captain came closer to rejoining his boyhood club than he had ever been before, flirting with the possibility until his manager Arsene Wenger told him definitively that he wouldn’t be allowed to leave at any price – at least not at that point in time.
In an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena COPE, Fabregas has spoken of his acceptance of Wenger’s firm stance, but hinted that he may be offski if the Gunners fail to secure any silverware this season;
“I maintain that I was right, because to play for Barcelona is a dream I have had since childhood. The truth is that Wenger is like a second father to me. I told him [that I wanted to join Barca], so there were difficult moments.
In the end, when I spoke to Wenger he told me ‘no’ – he was very emphatic, but that the transfer was impossible.
I am satisfied for all parties. It wasn’t to be and that’s that, though in my head I keep thinking it could have been a good opportunity – but here [at Arsenal] I have everything.
I am still happy. I am very comfortable here, I like the club, lead the team, play football. We just need to start winning titles because we have a wealth of quality. A winning mentality is missing.”
Yikes, talk about pressure. It looks like Arsenal are going to have to win something of significance this season if they are to stand even the slimmest chance of keeping their influential skipper out of Barcelona’s grasping paws – although it seems like the Catalan hooks may be in a little too deeply to avoid the inevitable this time round.