ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Barcelona
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Posted by Isaiah Cambron on 08/16/2011

In a properly bold font, Sport claimed on its website that 35,000 spectators jammed into the Camp Nou - as if that would fill it up - in order to see the official presentation of Cesc Fabregas. Sid Lowe, writing in The Guardian, claimed 20,000, but it doesn’t much matter. It’s the narrative that appears important here, the closing of a saga eight years in the making.

It would be virtually impossible to fail to be excited about Cesc’s inclusion in the squad. When taken at face value, the move makes sense: giving Cesc, one of the better midfielders in the world, time with Xavi before the latter retires and also to let Guardiola coach the kid who grew up idolizing him and dreaming of one day wearing the number 4 in blaugrana. That the transfer became a saga instead of a business transaction is everyone’s fault; now that it’s over it’s hard to imagine a world where every summer morning doesn’t include a glazed over eye rolling while perusing the day’s headlines.

Whatever your personal thoughts on Sandro Rosell, it is fairly obvious that he, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, and VP Josep María Bartomeu are shrewd negotiators. Given Cesc’s contract length (2015) and Arsenal’s seeming unwillingness to sell for less than €40m (or, depending on the source, the larger sum of £40m), getting a player many consider to be the best midfielder in England for, if reports are to be believed, €29m plus €6m in variables is incredible. Whatever the final numbers really end up as (the claims of Cesc paying €1m a year in salary for five years doesn’t make a whole lot of sense - are Arsenal getting €5m or is Cesc merely taking a “pay cut” that doesn’t amount to a net loss for him given Spain’s tax system?), it’s a good deal in today’s market, especially considering the premium placed on players capable of playing in the Premier League as “homegrown” talent.

Whether or not Barça can afford whatever the price really was is a different question and one that may not be answerable for a while yet. Tactically, though, there is a world of possibility that should make us all swoon. Vicente del Bosque was able to employ Fabregas as a regular substitute in the World Cup and shift his formation around to incorporate all 3 of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Cesc. The result turned out to be a cup-winning connection between Cesc and Iniesta. Guardiola will, no doubt, use Cesc as both a sub and a regular starter. Coupled with Alexis Sánchez’s arrival, rotations might even return to Barça. That would be shocking.

Another tactical move may be the regular rotation of Sergio Busquets and Cesc as the classic “4”, a role essentially created in the cule mind by Guardiola during his time as a player. It is, essentially and at the risk of oversimplifying, a deep-lying playmaker combined with a defensive midfielder. Cesc’s tackling ability is certainly above that of Xavi and Iniesta (who are no slouches in that category) while his passing ability has never been questioned. Adding an extra layer of depth to the entire midfield and attack gives Pep latitude with squad selections without reducing overall quality and provides cover in case of inevitable injury. It also appears to ensure that Javier Mascherano will spend the majority of the year filling in at center back, or at least the opening salvos of the campaign.

Regardless, welcome, Cesc. May your years at the club be full of success and trophies.

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Posted by ntu yola on 08/16/2011

up fab wil love u

Posted by m nig on 08/16/2011

hi fab i love u

Posted by james abuje on 08/16/2011

He deserves to be at nou camp

Posted by mide on 08/16/2011

Welcome fabregas!wish success ????? trouphies wit champion.

Posted by dottydorothy on 08/17/2011

there was a rather interesting analysis that I read which talked about the whole of playing area essentially becoming a mid-field with the current crop of players....if Pep actually achieves that, it would be stupendously brilliant to watch!! A whole field of players all acting as defenders, mid-fielders and forwards!

Posted by dottydorothy on 08/17/2011

Well that was a great start! First trophy(Super Copa) in hopefully what is an extremely long list to come!

Posted by AARON MARK HENDRIX on 08/18/2011

No doubt Cesc is good,but we also have Thiago.I cant understand why we went after him with so much Zeal.Xavi's not gonna retire tmrw you know.We paid so much money for someone who will not start.Yeah, he will start a few matches here and there,but he;s not someone who will start a UCL final now is he?And whoever said that he was the "best midfielder in England?"Honestly speaking,i dont dislike Cesc,just feel we should have waited 3 more years and then bought him.would have been much more cheaper.Cesc cant take a few kicks.He's injury prone.Man Utd used to trample Cesc in his Arsenal days.Sure,he'll run the rule on Getafe,Levante etc(NO DISRESPECT TO BOTH CLUBS)but when it matters.he'll be found wanting.I think Thiago is a much better prospect.Now he's gonna sit on the bench.He has the technique,physique and ability.All he needed was some playing time,which Cesc has now taken from him.Not to mention the squad number.We may lose another "Cesc"This is what Im afraid of..

Posted by James, Esq on 08/18/2011

Cesc, really knows what he wanted and he went for it(trophies). His spirit is no longer with Arsenal- he is good to go. Arsenal is not a one man team and it's not built around any individual(they play as a coherent whole). They had faced similar situation in past and came out stronger i.e the departure of Vieira, Henry e.t.c. You can recall, no former Arsenal player had played better after leaving Arsenal, with exception Cole, who left on every good note(arguably,he played his best in Arsenal). Be that as it may, both parties took a wise decision; Arsenal have collected the money and their is always someone ready to fill the vacuum; Cesc is now in his childhood/dream team, not only looking forward for trophies, but he is home- close to relatives and close to national team collegues(Del Bosque will be glad). Finally, permit me to use this analogy in conclusion... CESC PREFERRED TO SERVE IN HEAVEN THAN TO RULE IN HELL

Posted by MJ MOH'D on 08/18/2011

long live Barcelona long live Spain. i pray to God almighty that fcBarcelona remain unbeatable. fifa president please sanction j mourinho or if possible he should be advice to join army. because he will make a very good army commander. welcome CESC AND CONGRATULATION for u new trophy wish u many more.

Posted by D E Dupuis on 08/18/2011

Cesc was always coming home. In the long run he will replace Xavi. Xavi's achilles tendon needs all the rest it can get. And we still need Xavi. In the short term he will share duty with Xavi (to rest him and for CF to learn the role more completely), and Pedro and Villa. Not too sure what Alexis and Afallay are doing at Camp Nou, one of them sure, but both???? Cesc wears number 4 but will not more play in the 4 position than Messi plays in the 9. Cesc is NOT the defensive equal of SB or JM. So against big time opponents he will attack in one form or the other. Alcantara is more of an Iniesta replacement or sub. So FCB is definitely stronger - now lets move some defensive youngsters up - what a crazy defense that was in the supercup Madrid leg.

Posted by Xty on 08/20/2011

Welcome cesc, may ur presence bring more tropies for braca.

Posted by anthony(jamaica) on 08/21/2011

As a true Gooner its hard to say goodbye Cesc, but Arsenal FC will continue. Congrats on your first trophy and i will be watching you against all Real Madrid matches,because i want you to kill them off not letting Mou get a medal.
Gooner for life

Posted by AIZ KAHN on 08/22/2011

You gotta understand that for a club like barca,sometimes its not just a technical decision to get a player like fab.Technically adriano would fit the bill but its just that the prodigal son had to return to his homeland and though he left the club at a young age,the club never lost the love for him.It is this trait of barca that really separates it from all the other european clubs(especially enlish clubs).Moreover there is also a friendly pressure from players like messi,pique who are really close mates of fab to get him in.Its not that there was no happiness in the dressing room before but you gotta think that with the arrival of fab things will become even better.Great teams are not only a result of the playing field but also what goes on in the dressing room.

Posted by joseph on 08/25/2011

I lov barca fab so much.
I wish u all d best of titles

Posted by jack on 08/25/2011

barcelona is gret team, fabrigas is football superstar. he deaserved to be barcelona player rather then Arsenal

Posted by raheem sodiq on 09/05/2011

really don't know what to say,but i know is presence to barcelona will lead to success and glory for both fab and barca.Barcelona have now proved to be an unbeating teams with their new signings.I wish us more goodluck in this season than last season.up barcelona and_Morinho,this is just the begining,it is a season film and u will never stand to watch it finish.

Posted by sharad on 09/27/2011

Messi> BArfalona

Posted by Daveigh on 11/03/2011

A piece of erdutiion unlike any other!

Posted by dripable on 11/10/2011

What an all around well thought out article!

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Francesc Tomas Hola! I am Francesc Tomas. Barcelona is my passion and home-town team. I consider myself lucky to have regularly attended matches at the Camp Nou since the early 1980s. My cousin played for the Barça youth academy, sharing the team with Don Andres Iniesta, which gave me a clear inside view of how our club works behind the scenes. I am also the founder, editor and columnist at

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