When Cesc Fabregas left Arsenal for Barcelona after a protracted transfer saga, he said he moved back home to take up "the biggest challenge of my life".
He was seen as the Xavi's natural successor in the Spain & Barcelona line-ups.
Two years hence, the ex-Gunner has not even come close to replacing Xavi from his place in the midfield. He has played nearly the same number of games as Xavi during his time at Camp Nou (99 for Xavi and 96 for Cesc) but when it comes to the big games, Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova fell back upon Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the midfield trio. So Fabregas rarely played in the big matches.
The same can be made of his situation in the Spain national team. Vicente Del Basque prefers to play Xabi Alonso, Xavi and Sergio Busquets in his midfield. Fabregas yet again looses out on his preferred position. Sometimes, he is deployed in the "False 9" role in the famed 4-6-0 approach developed by Guardiola.
Now David Moyes' Manchester United have already had two bids turned down by the Blaugrana for the Spain international. United's lack of options in midfield will look like a promising opportunity for regular football in his preferred position. United will also continue to provide him an opportunity to win trophies unlike his previous Premier League club, Arsenal.
But, Fabregas should reject this offer to join United. He has been groomed in the famous La Masia Academy and fits in perfectly in to Barca's high tempo tiki-taka football.
With Xavi turning 34 this January, age is catching up the World Cup winner. He is not able to last the entire 90 minutes of a match and he is definitely not in condition to play 60 matches a year for club and country.
His influence on the matches is also waning, as was seen in the Confederation Cup final against Brazil and the semi-final legs against Bayern Munich.
Coaches will eventually move on from Xavi to put the best 11 players on the pitch. Who is better equipped to replace the pass master than Fabregas? At just 26, Fabregas has age on his side and he can become the next Xavi for the years to come. Spain's preference for players from the La Liga will also work in favour of his staying back at Camp Nou.
Following Thiago Alcantara's move to Bayern Munich, it has also lessened the competition for a place in the mid-field. Even though youngsters like Sergi Roberto and Jonathon Dos Santos are climbing up the ladder, Fabregas has no direct competition in the near future. He is bound to eventually establish himself in the starting XI.
Add to this, the emotional connect he shares with both Barcelona and Arsenal. He would not hurt the Gunners by moving to a rival team. And money will not be a substitute for his passion to wear the red and blue of the Blaugrana.
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