Pep Guardiola has remained relatively unobtrusive this summer whilst his players and president have persistently tested Arsenal’s resolve and the latest admission that the North London side were right to keep hold of their star man is quite frankly a breath of fresh air.
Guardiola said: “I understand Arsenal and I understand Wenger, I wouldn’t have let him leave either,” which contrasts greatly with the immense pressure his squad trying to exert over a stubborn Arsene Wenger. Perhaps if the Nou Camp boss had a spoke sooner, the mind-numbing transfer saga would have long since run its course.
However, any credit that is lavished upon the Spaniard for this latest twist must be paralleled with that of Arsene Wenger who took a stance which he felt best for his football club and did not move an inch in the face of blatant provocation.
Fabregas himself admitted that he has only remained at Arsenal because the Frenchman “forced” him to do so, but it is with this understanding that I only feel further compelled to feel admiration for the Arsenal chief as it is too often that player power conquests the clubs desire to keep him.
The fact he signed a five-year deal not so long ago acts in accordance with Arsenal’s right to retain his services and it could be argued that Fabregas himself denied himself the move by putting pen to paper on such a long deal which is vindicated even more by Guardiola’s agreement.
There is no doubt that the admission of another top coach that “he would have done same” makes the unremitting chase for Fabregas and the forcing of a Barcelona shirt over his head during Spain’s World Cup celebration seem all the more irrational and only intensifies the lack of respect shown to Arsenal from some of the players and hierarchy at the Nou Camp.
For now, the resilience of Arsenal has prevailed and Guardiola’s latest comments contribute to re-building a reputation that has been slightly tarnished by their seemingly desperate attempts to capture the Gunners skipper.
Wenger concluded that “It is important for football that players do not move away. That nobody can just come in and say ‘we want him and you go.”
Fabregas will undoubtedly be watched with interest next year as he tries to acclimatize himself to the fact his “dream” move will not realised for at least another season and the Arsenal fans will hope his heart is now set on winning their first trophy in years as opposed to a move to the Spanish capital.