Though initial talks have apparently begun between Barcelona and Arsenal regarding the transfer of Cesc Fabregas, and the Catalan club have said they are in no rush to make their predatory pounce, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has demonstrated a rather optimistic disposition; stating how they are ‘very surprised, but delighted’ not to have yet received an offer. However, the fact that he has reportedly slammed an £80 million price tag around Cesc’s precious little neck may have something to do with Barcelona biding their time.
This is a galling prospect for the Spanish club – and potentially an incredible slice of profit for the Gunners – given they lost Fabregas to Arsenal as a sixteen year old. It could also lead to a messy end to Fabregas’ Arsenal career if he firmly and explicitly sets his sights on the Nou Camp, possibly requiring an eventual formal transfer request. Arsenal conceivably realise this full valuation is unlikely to materialise in actuality, and so they will be using it both as a deterrent or, failing that, security in ensuring they set the agenda and base-point from where negotiations proceed.
When you consider, for example, that Wenger is apparently targeting another Spanish playmaker in Mikel Arteta, the valuation does seem inflated; with Arteta costing Everton a measly £2 million (forty Arteta’s to every Fabregas?). This is of course, purposefully, a little facetious and probably an unfair, unrepresentative comparison (Arteta’s mark-up value would be substantial if he moved on now), but it serves to highlight the fact that £80 million is a hefty ask.
However, given the swelling of transfer fees generally, particularly at Real Madrid and Barcelona, and with him being only 23 years old, maybe this is justifiable. On the heady hedonistic planet of football, you take what you can get. Depending how much would be made available in transfer funds, and whether Wenger would actually be willing to go splash the cash, this sort of money could give Arsenal the opportunity to form a stunningly sturdy spine and launch a serious Premier League challenge.
Personally, I (like most) am a big admirer of Fabregas and as a neutral would be sad to see another world-class talent leave the English game. Alas, but let’s not go sobbing snottily into our coffee cups and instead have a look at what £80 million could buy you; football-wise, so not including yachts, gold-digging sycophants and happiness. Here’s a prospective shopping list, including some Arsenal specifics and a selective assortment of big names and youth:
– Igor Akinfeev, Goalkeeper
– Giorgio Chiellini, Defender
– Phillip Lahm, Defender
– Davide Santon, Defender
– Daniele De Rossi, Midfielder
– Mesut Ozil, Midfielder
– Mikel Arteta, Midfielder
– Frank Ribery, Midfielder
– Yoann Gourcuff, Midfielder
– David Silva, Midfielder
– Javier Mascherano, Midfielder
– Sergio Aguero, Striker
– Alexandre Pato, Striker
– Edin Dzeko, Striker
Lastly, in theory and based on past transfer fees, £80 million could even stretch to get you the half decent front-line of Rooney, Drogba and Torres (or one Ronaldo), suggesting Arsenal may be setting the bar a little too high.
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