Monday, 15 August 2011

Saying Goodbye To Another Captain

The captain's armband has been cruel to us Arsenal fans in recent times. In the last 7 years we have lost 3 high profile captains, each one of them crucial to the squad, to overseas clubs. With Cesc Fabregas's departure to Barcelona today, thus ends one of the longest transfer sagas in football history. The will-he-won't-he move to the Catalan giants has been going on for years now and I imagine there are quite a few Arsenal fans who are feeling a lot of relief today that the drama is all over.

However we cannot escape the fact we have just lost one of the greatest playmakers this club has ever had, and arguably one of the best players of his generation. I am relieved to see this seemingly endless transfer come to an end but I'm also very sad to see a player of Cesc's quality leave us. It's even more annoying that we let him go at such an early age; Fabregas is still only 24, and probably still has his greatest days ahead of him (that is hard to believe, but I'm not sure he's reached his peak yet). Wow those 8 years went fast huh?

Making his first start on a rainy night in the Carling Cup against Rotherham at a tender 16 years of age, Cesc never looked back. Within 2 years he'd staked his claim in the heart of our midfield and Wenger felt so confident in the Spaniard's abilities that the boss let an Arsenal legend in Patrick Vieira leave without a second thought. And again Cesc thrived, going from strength to strength. My one regret in letting Fabregas leave now is that I wish we'd have had one more good season out of him. Last year he was injured most of the time and even when he was on the pitch you could tell he wasn't fully fit and not match-sharp. It's a real shame that we'll never see Cesc again in the red and white, at the top of his game, pulling the strings in midfield with those incredible defence-splitting passes that only he seems capable of executing.

Now he'll be happy, back home in Barcelona, reunited with friends and family in the country and city of his birth. You can't really blame him for wanting to go back, I'm sure nearly every one of us would jump at the chance return home if you could. Cesc has provided us with plenty of great memories over the years and always gave 100% on the field; you could tell he loved playing for us and had a real connection with the supporters. But you've still gotta think, what if? What if we'd won 1 or 2 more trophies in the last 6 years? What if the club had been a bit harder, categorically stating that Fabregas was off limits and not for sale? It's a shame we'll never find out what could have been if Cesc had stayed with us into his 30's...

Arsenal must now prepare for a future without our gifted Spaniard, and probably without Samir Nasri too. You would think with Cesc out of the picture Nasri would take advantage of this and take control of that central attacking midfield position that has been Fabregas's for so long. But if Samir is more interested in his bank balance than his future as Arsenal's playmaker and midfield general, well... he'll be gone before you know it.

Thanks for reading, hope we get a win against Udinese tomorrow night.

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