Cesc Fabregas had it all at the Emirates stadium - he was the captain of the club, the fan favourite, the best player by a margin and the leader in the team.
He left it all for his boyhood club, FC Barcelona - a dream move for the young Spaniard to his hometown club, the club where he started his career as a trainee, and the club which was winning trophies for fun, managed by his boyhood hero, Pep Guardiola.
Two years on, the dream move seems to have turned sour. The manager has changed at the Nou Camp, it is a second season where the Barca side were defeated in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions' League and the manner of the defeat - a 7-0 mauling against a sprightly Bayern Munich side has put a spanner in the works of this cultured midfielder's career.
He remains a supreme talent capable of winning any game, however his transfer to a club blessed with arguably the best midfield combination in the planet seemed a move of optimism - after all, rarely, if ever is a midfield graced by Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi up ahead.
To break into this midfield would have meant an injury or a spectacular loss of form to any of these players. That hasn't happened on a regular enough basis for Cesc and he has had to satisfy himself with a role from the bench, or an occasional start as an attacker where he has done reasonably well. Fabregas will be looking to play week in, week out to ply his trade with the best in the world and to ensure he remains in the scheme of things in the Spanish national side with the World Cup coming up in a year's time. For that he may have to change clubs with Arsenal retaining first say in the matter.
But will the Gunners take him back, so soon after selling him? And if he indeed is back how will that hamper the development of two British midfielders who are looking ahead to make the 2013/14 season their own?
There is indeed much to learn for Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey from the spaniard - his leadership skills, his vision and creativity and especially, his eye for goal, but with Cesc back in the squad and with Santi Cazorla showing his skills and adaptability in the first season at the Emirates and Mikel Arteta, his class, one or both of the two young British talent will have to make way in the heart of the Gunners midfield.
But that will only result in a depth in the squad that ensures any rotation is merely a chance to regroup in a long and gruelling season, and does not imply any drop in quality.
He will be welcomed back with open arms, but may not get the captain's arm band, now which is surely heading Wilshere's way.
And his return will bring back the glory days because when he was here last he was not surrounded by a bunch of players as talented and focussed as this. But will Arsene Wenger bring back an ex-protege so soon after selling him off?
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