Would Arsenal fans ever be able to forgive him?

Cesc Fabregas

There are obvious parallels to Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie’s departure from Arsenal. Both left in search of trophies, one way or another. Where Fabregas had the fortune of joining up with his childhood club who were more than likely to offer him that much-craved slice of silverware in the near future (two games, in fact), van Persie had little in the way of options other than to join the “enemy,” though he was unlikely to label Manchester United as such when he made the switch.

Yet there are unlikely to be parallels to both players now. Arsenal fans have tagged van Persie as a traitor for joining United, while Fabregas would still be welcomed back to the Emirates despite his less than savoury departure in 2011. Now that both former Arsenal captains have their trophy – though they’d be more than inspired to make a charge on the Champions League – there would be little reason for Fabregas to join up with United instead of returning to Arsenal.

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At this stage in Fabregas’ career, he can afford to take his time on the matter; the desperation to marry his talents with trophies isn’t as strong as it once was. His age also allows him to take a little care with his next option – that is, of course, if he does actually leave Barcelona this summer.

It would be foolish to take most of what a modern footballer says to heart. Fabregas had mentioned in the past that he would only play for Arsenal if he found his way back to the Premier League – and surrounding circumstances do offer him a little weight in what he says. One of the exceptions to the rule.

What is also being ignored in this whirlwind of panic (because that’s sort of what it is) is that Fabregas has reportedly been in contact with Arsene Wenger for much of the past two years. The new financial strength of Arsenal means the club can indeed afford to buy the player back for £25 million if Fabregas chooses to leave the Camp Nou. Perhaps even more than Barcelona, Arsenal is Fabregas’ football home. Where is the need to join Manchester United? The similarities between him and van Persie have quickly come to an end.

One of the big issues surrounding Fabregas’ departure from Arsenal was the lack of support he had in terms of high-end players. The pressure was very much on him alone, especially with van Persie consistently picking up injuries and Samir Nasri only really coming to the fore on a regular basis in his final season with the club. A lot of that has changed now.

Even the club’s current star in Jack Wilshere can’t find a regular place in the team. Santi Cazorla has taken a lot of Fabregas’ creative responsibility on board and added goals to this Arsenal side too. Mikel Arteta is the mature figure in the midfield that the club have often lacked during Fabregas’ time, while Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker are among a number of other leaders in the squad. The makeup of this Arsenal team is vastly different to the one Fabregas left, and that is yet to count the new arrivals of this summer’s window.

Let’s hold off in labelling Cesc a traitor before anything is set in stone. There has been nothing thus far, whether over the past 24 hours or over the past year that suggests the player would be open to a move to Old Trafford. What it does seem like, however, is that United missed the boat on Thiago and are now going in for the other option in Fabregas. I also wouldn’t completely discount Barcelona in selling Fabregas this summer too, as there is so much on record that supports the notion that the club have been run horribly under Sandro Rosell.

Fabregas has got his league trophy from Spain and a host of smaller cups starting with the Spanish and UEFA Super Cups. Yet he, like most Arsenal fans, understands that there is unfinished business in north London. A move back to England could be on the cards – and the “could” is incredibly stressed – but I’m not entirely convinced Fabregas is weighing up the option of Manchester.

Would Fabregas be labelled a traitor if he joined Manchester United?

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