Barcelona are willing to let Cesc Fabregas leave this summer, it has been reported. The Spaniard does not seem to be in Luis Enrique's plans for the future.
This has unsurprisingly sparked rumours of a dramatic return to former club Arsenal, due to the fact that the Gunners have a £29.2 million buy-back clause and that Fabregas previously stated that the only club he would leave Barcelona for is Arsenal.
The big question is not whether Fabregas would move to Arsenal, however, it is whether Arsenal would move for him..
Ever since the departure of Patrick Vieira nearly a decade ago, Arsenal have been crying out for a defensive midfielder who is not only going to provide reliable and consistent protection for the back four, but also is going to command the midfield and make sure that the team have plenty of the ball throughout matches.
Since Vieira's exit, the Gunners have tried players such as Mathieu Flamini, Alex Song, Mikel Arteta and even Fabregas in the defensive midfield role but none of them have had the success that the Invincibles had in the role.
Nevertheless, Wenger finally seems to be ready to splash out on a top class defensive midfielder this summer. Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender, Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez and Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton have been linked so far but no formal offer has been made yet.
This position seems to be an absolute priority for Wenger this summer but the sudden availability of his former captain will no doubt give him a dilemma: bring back his undoubted quality to the squad but not strengthen a position that needs to be strengthened, or solve the defensive midfield problem but run the huge risk of Fabregas leaving for a rival. As Robin van Persie's departure to Manchester United in 2012 showed, the latter could be a highly costly decision.
For many Arsenal fans, it's simple: the first rule with Cesc Fabregas is that if Cesc Fabregas becomes available, you buy Cesc Fabregas. His relationship with the club and the fantastic quality that he brought there can not be doubted.
In addition, many will wonder if Wenger can afford to have both Fabregas and a top class defensive midfielder at the club next season. One can argue that you can never have enough quality in your ranks. However, with the stunning form of Aaron Ramsey last season, the promise of Jack Wilshere and the the hugely significant £42.4 million signing of Mesut Ozil last summer, Fabregas may struggle to find a starting spot in the team.
It is perhaps a testament to how far Arsenal have come last year, where before Ozil's arrival, one could only see Wilshere as the sole top class player in the squad and even he was having injury problems. With the FA Cup win ending the nine year trophy drought and a 17th consecutive season of Champions League football awaiting, the Emirates Stadium seems to be a happy place once more.
The is no doubt that Fabregas will bring fantastic quality to Arsenal's midfield and will vastly improve passing rhythm. The Spaniard should add plenty of goals and assists from midfield which can only help the improving Oliver Giroud. Loic Remy, who has been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates already this summer, could also be another who will hugely benefit from Fabregas's vision and creativity. The return of Fabregas, who has a total of 148 assists from midfield, will unquestionably be a tempting choice for Wenger this summer.
One thing that will constantly be on Wenger's mind when contemplating whether or not he is going to bring the Spaniard back to the Emirates, is the consequence of rejecting the buy-back clause that Arsenal have up their sleeve. The sale of Van Persie practically won the league in 2012/13 for United, who had a relatively weak team compared to other contenders. Other sales of Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor have not only dented Arsenal in the past, but it has also strengthened their rivals significantly.
It is a big decision for Wenger to make but whatever the outcome, Premier League fans will be delighted to see the return of the huge talent that is Cesc Fabregas.
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