Arsenal has been struggling for creativity from their midfield. With the youngsters needing a bit more time to settle down, Cesc Fabregas could be the key.
When Arsenal football does return after this hiatus, one thing is certain—it wouldn’t be the same world we were familiar with. With clubs scrambling to pay their playing and non-playing staff while also doing their bit for the community, it is safe to assume that most clubs would be more prudent when it comes to big-money transfers.
We could, possibly, enter a zone where swaps and loans are more common than transfers that could easily be valued at the GDP of a small nation.
Arsenal is no strangers to tight budgets during transfer windows. Though I might add, they have spent heavily in the past few seasons despite rumors going around that the transfer war chest wasn’t large. That said, in a post-COVID-19 world, the Gunners could look at a left-field option to bolster its team, at least for the short term.
Arsenal should bring back Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas, quite easily, would be the most important talent from the early Emirates era. He was the heartbeat of this side that fell just four points short of the Premier League glory in 2007-08 and was a mainstay in the side till he left for Barcelona under testing circumstances. His reputation with the fans took a major hit when he signed for Chelsea prior to the 2014-15 season, though later reports would suggest that Arsenal had first refusal on Fabregas as he was leaving Barcelona, but they didn’t want to sign him as they already had Mesut Ozil.
What followed is the stuff of both English Premier League and Chelsea lore. Fabregas would spearhead Chelsea’s charge to the title in the 2014-15 season with three goals and 19 assists in 34 PL appearances. He would remain an integral part of their campaign again in 2016-17 before gradually seeing his playing time dwindle. Now plying his trade at AS Monaco, Fabregas hasn’t been at his lightening best with injuries severely curtailing his playing time.
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However, Mikel Arteta could benefit from considering Fabregas as a short term option.
Why it would work: He is a legend with a storied reputation in the Premier League. His Chelsea stint may put some fans off, but he could be the short term fix that the Gunners needs in terms of creativity. With talented players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette often being starved for service, Fabregas could correct the issue. With pinpoint passes and the brain to control the midfield, he could run the show with two of Arsenal’s more mobile midfielders on his side. He could drop into games when Arsenal need to manage a game or even be used as an option to unlock defences during the latter stages of games. He could also push Arsenal towards a trophy or two, something that eluded him during his first stint at the club. With Dani Ceballos‘ future also up in the air and some of the youngsters needing more time to bed in into their roles, Fabregas could prove a valuable asset for this side.
Why it wouldn’t work: His fitness is the biggest question mark. He has played a little over a 1000 minutes for Monaco during the 2019-20 across all competitions. This might make him ill-suited for the rigors of the Premier League. He is also turning 33 in May, meaning the Gunners could be stuck with another large wage-earner with no resale value. His Chelsea stint also might make his signing tricky for Arsenal from a PR standpoint.
Even with all these downsides, his numbers truly speak for themselves – 350 EPL appearances across Arsenal and Chelsea with 50 goals and 114 assists. If he can even contribute ten assists during Arsenal’s next campaign, it would be money well spent. On a positive note, Fabregas also endeared himself to football fans by not only taking a 30% pay cut but also agreeing to pay the salaries of the non-paying staff at AS Monaco during this tough time.