The sight of former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas in a Chelsea shirt this season has been a strange experience for Gunners fans, with the Emirates Stadium faithful giving the Spaniard a mixed reception upon his return to North London last weekend.
However, it has been revealed that Arsene Wenger had first refusal on the gifted playmaker when his Barcelona exit became inevitable, but opted not to sign Fabregas for a second time.
Given that the former Gunners hero has played a significant role in helping Chelsea to the brink of the Premier League title, was the Frenchman’s decision to overlook Fabregas right?
Wenger’s commitment to young players is admirable, with the longstanding Gunners coach keen to see the development of the next superstars in North London.
There is no doubting that had Fabregas returned to Arsenal, an area of congestion in the squad would have been further oversupplied.
Currently, Wenger has Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla all competing for a spot in the heart of the midfield.
Although a number of these players have been suffering from debilitating injuries or are fringe figures, Fabregas’ addition to this list would surely have had a number of potentially negative impacts on the Arsenal squad.
The emergence of Coquelin could well have been in threat, while the game time of Ramsey, Wilshere and potentially Mesut Ozil would surely have been cut.
Wenger has a lot of faith in the players at his disposal and clearly feels that the stars in his current squad can develop further and fire the team towards silverware.
Only time will tell whether the Frenchman is right in this assertion.
Despite potentially inhibiting the progress of others, the fact that Arsenal have not won the Premier League title in ten years means the club need desperate measure to return to success.
Signing Fabregas would have added a player of the highest ability to an already impressive team and would have given the North Londoners more creativity and purpose in the final third.
The fact that the Spain international leads the division’s assists tally this season is no coincidence and resigning someone of Fabregas’ quality could well have been the wholehearted boost that Arsenal needed to start the campaign strongly.
Added to this the fact that the playmaker was a firm fans favourite during his time at Arsenal and his return would have been a popular move.
Wilshere and others have the potential to be as good as Fabregas in the long run – but surely signing a player who already is at the top of his game would be preferable?
With the ex-Barcelona man able to play as a number ten also, it would have given Wenger more options in his attack.
Finally, the decision to overlook Fabregas has bolstered a title rival, with Chelsea benefiting from Wenger’s choice.