Daily Archives: June 2, 2014

Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Pros and Cons of Signing Cesc Fabregas

Francesc Fabregas earned a place in the spotlight following his breathtaking performances in the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Cup but under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger, he matured into one of the best players of his generation. His protracted transfer saga was a niggling issue at Arsenal and eventually, the Gunners buckled and let him go for initial fee of £35 million with a further £5 million in add-ons. In 303 appearances for Arsenal, he scored 57 goals and created 100 assists.

Since moving to FC Barcelona in 2011, Fabregas has won a La Liga title (2012/13), one Copa del Rey (2012), one Club World Cup (2011), one UEFA Super Cup (2011) and two Spanish Super Cup titles (2011 and 2013). After scoring 42 goals and supplying 48 assists in 151 games for the Catalans, it has been stated (via the Telegraph) that the midfield maestro would be available for £30 million pounds this summer.

There are other clubs obviously interested in signing the Spaniard but Arsenal has a buy-back clause as well as the fact that the player himself has stated that if he’s to return to the Premier League, it’s going to be at Arsenal. Many fans are in a state of dilemma in regard to the signing of Fabregas. Gooner Daily has decided to analyse the pros and cons of signing the midfielder.

CONS

That £30 Million Would Be Better Invested Elsewhere

At the end of the 2012/13 season, the manager, players and fans alike knew that Arsenal has to reinforce the squad if the team is to challenge for silverware in the forthcoming campaign. With Lukasz Fabianski and Bacary Sagna already out of the equation, Arsenal has to replace these lads and according to the Express and the Independent, David Ospina and Serge Aurier have been lined up as their replacements. The Gunners are also in pursuit of Sven Bender (via the Mirror) and the Metro reports that the club has agreed personal terms with QPR’s Loic Remy.

Gunners 'agree terms' with Remy

Remy has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer

Using speculated amounts for these players, Ospina would cost around £3-5m, Aurier £7m, Bender £15-20m and Remy £8-10m. Realistically speaking, wouldn’t £40+ for these four quality players than £30m for one Fabregas?

Where Would He Fit In?

As we all know, Cesc Fabregas is one of the best playmakers in the business but the Gunners have a squad that is flooded with a plethora of playmakers. There’s the German schemer, Mesut Ozil, the Spanish magician, Santi Cazorla, the ageless Czech, Tomas Rosicky and the British duo of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

All these players battle for just two playing positions in the middle of the park but Cazorla’s versatility allows him to play on the flanks. With Ozil and Ramsey sure starters, Rosicky and even Wilshere (when he’s not on an unfamiliar wing position) are on the bench. So ask yourself, where would Fabregas fit in?

He Would Create an Imbalance in the Squad

Last season, Arsenal struggled with a lack of balance in midfield. Wenger experienced problems trying to fit OzilSanti Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey into the same team. Loading up a team with playmakers might work in games against weaker opposition. But it has routinely failed Arsenal in the bigger contests against fellow trophy contenders.

There have been countless occasions when Wilshere, a box-to-box midfielder by trade was forced to play on the right wing and while he excelled in the game against Olympique Marseille in that position, there were many more games he failed to make his mark as well. When Aaron Ramsey played like a jack-of-all-trades yet master of none shortly after his injury return, he was a lightning rod for fan frustrations but when Wenger fielded him in his natural box-to-box role, he flourished.

Arsenal’s box-to-box milfield crew

This is where Fabregas comes in. In his career, he has played in the holding role and even as a false nine in his national team colors but we all know that Fabregas played his best football in the hole behind the striker, the position Mesut Ozil currently occupies.

Simply put, there is no strength and pace to complement ample amounts of flair and technical craft. Adding Fabregas would only compound that problem, rather than remedy it.James Dudko of Bleacher Report

PROS

He Would Add to the Depth of the Squad

Watching Manchester City carry the Premier League trophy was certainly a painful sight but every Gooner would take solace in the fact that Arsenal was just seven points away from the top.

Then ask yourselves – how did Arsenal’s title challenge fall by the roadside? Some would say that it was because the Gunners lost Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott for a considerable chunk of the season. However, Manchester City lost Sergio Aguero to injury, Stevan Jovetic failed to assert himself and even the red-hot Alvaro Negredo blew cold in the tail end of the campaign.

What was the difference between Arsenal and Manchester City in this regards? Depth.

In Edin Dzeko, the Citizens had a forward that was very dependable and managed to hold the fort while Aguero was out injured and Negredo was firing blanks. At Arsenal, the loss of Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott created a vacuum that couldn’t be filled by any other player and even though Giroud was dependable enough, he was found wanting in the “big games”.

Having Fabregas in the squad would be a plus because he is a quality player that can step for Ozil or Ramsey if they suffer an injury or when they want to be rested.

He Doesn’t Require Any Adaptation Period

Even the best players in the world struggle when they play in a new club and they require a certain duration to adapt to the new way of life. Fabregas on the other hand has spent a considerable chunk of his career at Arsenal, so he won’t have any issues settling in because of his vast years of Premier League experience.

His Stats Proves that He’s Still a Force to be Reckoned With

With some assistance from WhoScored.com, I’d compare Fabregas’ stats with Arsenal’s attacking midfielders in the 2012/13 campaign.

STAT (League Only*) Fabregas Ramsey Ozil Cazorla Wilshere
Apperances (subs) 28 (8) 20 (3) 25 (1) 30 (1) 19 (5)
Goals 8 10 5 4 3
Assists 13 8 9 8 4
Key Passes (per game) 58 (1.6) 32 (1.4) 76 (2.9) 67 (2.2) 33 (1.4)
Pass Completion % (Accurate / Total) 87% (1901/2184) 84.4% (1278/1515) 88% (1442/1639) 86.3% (1671/1937) 86.1% (1050/1219)
Long Balls (Accurate / Total) 134/171 75/108 40/57 97/137 60/70
Through Balls (Accurate / Total) 24/48 9/28 10/16 10/17 10/30
Successful Dribbles (per game) 24 (0.7) 30 (1.3) 45 (1.7) 49 (1.6) 45 (1.9)
Shots (per game) 52 (1.4) 50 (2.2) 30 (1.2) 73 (2.4) 21 (0.9)
Tackles (per game) 48 (1.3) 77 (3.3) 23 (0.9) 45 (1.5) 31 (1.3)
Interceptions (per game) 16 (0.4) 23 (1) 6 (0.2) 31 (1) 10 (0.4)
Successful Crosses (Accurate / Total) 4/24 0/25 36/103 36/141 3/22
Who Scored Rating 7.31 7.72 7.25 7.34 6.99
Bookings (Yellow / Red) 4/0 3/0 0/0 2/0 6/0

As the stats show, Fabregas notched up more assists than his peers at Arsenal and he had a whooping 2184 passes with a pass completion percentage of 87%, one percent less than Arsenal’s most accurate attacking midfield passer, Mesut Ozil. Fabregas also had more long passes and through passes than his Arsenal counterparts, which prove that come rain come shine, he remains an efficient passer of the ball.

Arsenal can definitely benefit from his eagle-eyed passing range as he was the same player that notched up a century of assists in his eight campaigns with the club.

Conclusion

With these in mind, it’s going to be very interesting to see how things pan out.

I’d keep you updated as the situation unfolds.

Sayonara.

The voting sequence for the 2013/14 End of Season awards is still ongoing, so feel free to make your votes count in the polls.

Sayonara.

You can download the Gooner Daily  BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page and click on the like button.

You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button