Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas has explained how Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira was sold by the Gunners in order to allow the him to flourish in the club's midfield.
Vieira left Arsenal for Juventus in the summer transfer window of 2005 just one year after leading the club undefeated to the Premier League title, and only months after lifting the FA Cup at the Millennium Stadium.
This transfer came as something of a surprise given the service Vieira had given to the Gunners over nine glorious years, but was initiated in the hope of enabling Fabregas to make his mark as an Arsenal player.
Fabregas joined Arsenal from Barcelona as a 16-year-old in 2003 and admits that his career would have not progressed so quickly were he to have stayed at the Camp Nou.
He remains the youngest player to ever make a first-team appearance for the Gunners, and believes the faith Arsene Wenger displayed in him following the departure of Vieira has significantly shaped his career.
"It accelerated everything. If I'd stayed at Barcelona, I'd have got there slower. It made me a more complete player in every sense," Fabregas told The Guardian.
"Giving me my debut when I was only 16 years old. When I was 18 they sold Vieira so that they could put me into the side. They told me to my face, they gave me responsibilities.
"They made me captain when I was 21 … so many things that made me feel very special in that team."