They’re rumours that refuse to go away and that’s to be expected given that moves for both Robinho and Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona are more than simply plausible. The fact of the matter however is that these transfers shouldn’t go through and that’s for the sakes of all the clubs involved. Whilst there is no doubting that both Fabregas and Robinho are extremely good players, they are positions that Barcelona have no particular need to refill right now.
There’s no doubting the strength of the current Barcelona side, they are the team to beat this season given their extremely successful campaign last year and as they’ve continued their form into this season, improving it if anything with a number of extremely impressive wins. Unsurprisingly it is the big names like Xavi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi who have pulled the strings in Barca’s performances but football is a team game and Barca have had eleven on-form players playing well for them.
The need to strengthen is always there for a football club for a variety of reasons ranging from having a small squad in need of depth to the need to replace an older player. In theory it’s the latter which Barca are trying to achieve in their bids for Robinho and Fabregas which is to a degree warranted. Thierry Henry’s best days are past him at the age of 32 and it’s no surprise that Barca are planning to get a younger player in for his position, they’re already making it clear after all that Henry is free to leave as long as they get their replacement in. The fact remains though that Henry has continued to play well for Barca and should not be brushed aside so easily. Yes, he is probably the weakest of Barcelona’s attacking trident but that is no insult given who the other two players playing there are. There is no doubting the quality of the planned replacement – Robinho has already impressed for both Real Madrid and Manchester City – but he should not be Barcelona’s number one target for a couple of reasons. One is that Robinho is not naturally a left winger, this is the least problematic as the same applies to Henry yet he has done well in the role. The other is the price that would have to be paid to acquire Robinho; Mark Hughes seems to be indicating that the Brazilian can leave but, with City not remotely in need of money, Barca will have to cough up a fair amount to get their man. There are cheaper alternatives out there who are just as effective and would also have the advantage of not being former Real players – something which the Barca fans generally resent.
The pursuit of Fabregas is even more unnecessary; yes he’s a Barca fan who has expressed an interest in going back there one day and there’s no doubt that he’s a fantastic player but Barcelona’s midfield is their strongest area and Fabregas would not be able to displace either Xavi or Andres Iniesta from the team on a regular basis. Barca’s intention is for Fabregas to prove the long-term replacement for Xavi but Xavi is still just 29 (30 in January) and has a good few years in him yet. Spending those years mainly on the bench would undoubtedly be detrimental to Fabregas’s development. Plus, by the time Xavi’s ready to retire there may be a midfielder around who has become better than Fabregas and would command a smaller fee. Arsenal are not going to want to sell their prized possession and, like with Robinho, Barca will have to pay big money to get the player.
Money is not too much of an issue to Barcelona but they should be more cautious about splashing out on players. Yes Henry will need replacing soon but Robinho? For all the hassle involved Barca would be better off finding another target, and there are quality left wingers out there. As for Fabregas, Barca will naturally strive to get hold of the best players in the world but the capture would not really aid them too much and it would certainly hurt both the player and Arsenal. Maybe Barca are getting ahead of themselves